The Liberal Democrats have called on the Chief Constable of Dorset for a stronger and more visible police presence in rural areas of the county.

Edward Morello, the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for West Dorset, is meeting James Vaughan, the Dorset Chief Constable, on Thursday, October 10 to discuss rural crime.

The Home Office has announced its recruitment targets for each force as part of its aim to employ 20,000 additional police officers over the next three years. Dorset has been set the target of recruiting 50 additional officers.

Mr Morello said: “In real terms, we have one Police Officer and one PCSO dedicated to rural crime for all of rural Dorset, covering over 800 square miles. The overworked and under-resourced Rural Crime Team do exceptional work in difficult circumstances, however the best crime deterrent is a visible and active Police Force.”

“I want a more visible police force in rural areas. Dorset has been targeted with recruiting just 50 additional Police officers, which will do little to alleviate the burden caused by years of cuts, and I am keen to ensure that the additional staff are not just swallowed up by towns and cities.”

The Rural Crime Survey of 2018 showed that 69 per cent of farmers and rural business owners had been the victim of crime in the previous 12 months. Six in ten of those surveyed said they were fairly worried or very worried about becoming a victim of crime in the future.

Mr Morello said: “There’s also a big increase in the number of rural crimes going unreported and a feeling that the needs of rural communities are being ignore. I want to ensure that West Dorset residents feel safe in their homes, and our farmers and businesses that are vital for the rural economy are protected.”