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Watchdog tells Dorset Police to improve how it investigates crimes and responds to the public

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DORSET Police needs to improve how it investigates crime and responds to the public, a force watchdog said.

The report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found the force’s performance fell in some areas although it still provides an adequate service for 2021/22

Only two of the eight areas of policing inspected were rated ‘good’, four were ‘adequate’, and the remaining two were graded ‘requires improvement’.

Dorset Police Chief Constable Scott Chilton
Dorset Police Chief Constable Scott Chilton

HMICFRS inspector Wendy Williams acknowledged Dorset Police had a challenging year of increased demand and welcomed initiatives to protect the most vulnerable.

But she said it needed to better meet the needs of victims when responding to and investigating crimes.

“The force has improved its efforts on managing offenders and suspects,” Mrs Williams explained.

“I am also pleased with the force’s efforts to improve its capacity and capability to investigate online sexual offending, but reassurance is needed that sufficient long-term provision is in place so that investigations are timely, and children remain safe.”

Continued focus is needed on understanding of the reasons for disparities when searching people and using force, she continued.

Dorset Police was commended for its engagement with diverse groups to better understand why disparities endure, particularly for black people.

It was rated ‘good’ for work preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, as well as building, supporting and protecting its workforce.

Mrs Williams added: “Dorset Police has put in place new structures, processes, and standards over the past year, which should mean the force is better equipped to investigate crime, identify vulnerable people and manage demand.”

Responding to the report, the force pointed out it began work at the start of the year to address the need to improve in some areas.

This included launching two local policing area commands and investing in teams for county lines drug offending, neighbourhood enforcement and missing persons.

Chief Constable Scott Chilton said: “I have made it clear that victims of crime must be our top priority and we remain focused on improving the service we provide by ensuring we support them through the process, pursue all investigative opportunities and achieve the positive outcomes they deserve.”

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