AS part of National Rural Crime Action week (September 18-24), the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is focusing on tackling rural crime in the area.

Since Dorset PCC David Sidwick started in 2021, the rural crime team now has the capacity to have 18 members rather than just three. There are now also 18 trained wildlife officers in the Dorset Police force.

Because of this, the rural crime team have helped return more than £1million worth of stolen machinery in the past year. The NFU Mutual annual report shows that there has been a 28% drop in the cost of crime for Dorset, compated to an increase of 22.1% nationally. 

David said: "It has always been abundantly clear to me that Dorset is home to immensely proud rural communities, and I have always been a strong believer that more could be done to support Dorset’s rural residents.

"The fight against rural crime needs to go beyond enforcement alone. There were systematic changes that needed to be made to ensure that the police and law enforcement were better equipped to support rural residents.

"That’s why over the last two years I have continuously lobbied for changes that would help in the fight against rural crime."

Earlier this year, David called for tougher sanctions on fly tipping, meaning the minimum fine for the offence was raised from £400 to £1000. 

He also supported the National Farmers Union (NFU) to campaign for tougher legislation on illegal hare coursing. This resulted in a change in the law. 

The Dorset PCC office has also launched a Country Watch website, which helps rural residents find advice and support if they are a victim of crime. 

David is planning to join the rural crime team over the next few weeks to give residents an insight into tackling rural crime in the area. 

To keep up-to-date visit the Dorset PCC facebook page