Dorset has seen a 9.6 per cent increase in reported crime, according to figures for the full financial year from April 2017 to March 2018 that have been released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The rise in reported crime in the county compares to a national rise of 12.8 per cent across England and Wales.
In terms of specific crime types, the violence with injury category saw an increase of 33.5 per cent, compared to a national increase of 9.9 per cent. Some of this increase is believed to be linked to changes in recording but there is also an element of genuine increase. However, the figure still places Dorset as the 12th lowest force in the country in terms of crimes per 1,000 people.
Overall violence saw an increase of 16.4 per cent, with criminal damage and arson increasing by nine per cent and public order offences by 15.8 per cent. The increase in overall violence is less than the national increase of 19.4 per cent.
Deputy Chief Constable David Lewis said: “Back in 2015 we told the public that, after more than a decade of continual reduction in reported crime, it was expected that we would start seeing a rise and this has been reflected nationally in recent years.
“It is clear that, like other forces, the increase in recent years can in part be put down to people having greater confidence in coming forward to us, particularly for crimes such as domestic and sexual offences, and an increased emphasis on recording crime as accurately as possible.
“However, we have always vowed to be honest with our public and we must recognise that some of the increase is down to a genuine rise in crime taking place in local communities.
“This mirrors the national picture, and Dorset is still one of the safest places in the country. We continue to work hard at improving our investigative skills, finding new ways to respond to the rise in calls and working together with local partners to prevent crime.
“All officers and staff at Dorset Police remain committed to doing everything we can to keep the county a safe place to live, work and visit.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill added: “The increase in reported crime in Dorset reflects the national picture – it is, in part, due to the work done by the force to improve crime recording, as well as the greater confidence the public have in contacting the police.
“It should be remembered, however, that the majority of demands that our police service face are not crime related, and these incidents and issues have also increased. At the same time, the numbers of police officers in England and Wales has decreased by 21,000 since 2010.
“On behalf of the people of Dorset I would like to take this opportunity to thank the officers, staff and volunteers of Dorset Police, who have my support, my admiration and my gratitude for the incredibly difficult job they do.”