A GROUP aiming to make Dorchester a safer place for people in the town is looking to expand its work.
The Dorchester Crime Prevention Panel works with local police to help raise awareness of crime prevention and inform residents on how they can avoid becoming victims of crime.
The panel is now looking to get more people involved and is also hoping to raise funds for a new van to help its crime prevention education work.
Chair of the panel Karen Armitage said: “We are a small group of people that are working toward Dorchester being a nicer place to live and safe.
“We want to make people aware of the things that are happening.”
Cllr Armitage, who represents the panel on Dorchester Town Council, said that the panel raises awareness of things like handbag and purse thefts, shed break-ins and theft from cars and property.
The panel meets on the second Wednesday of every other month at Dorchester Police Station and goes out with police so officers are also on hand to answer questions.
Members also attend a range of awareness events, such as those being organised by Dorchester Police next week to mark Neighbourhood Watch Week.
Cllr Armitage is encouraging more people to come and find out about the work of the panel and get involved in its work.
Anyone over the age of 16 is welcome to come along and take part.
The panel is also turning its attention to fundraising as it seeks around £5,500 to £6,000 for a mobile crime prevention vehicle.
The group currently has to borrow such a vehicle from East Dorset and if it is able to secure its own that vehicle could also serve the whole of West Dorset.
Cllr Armitage said: “The Dorchester Crime Prevention Panel will be responsible for it and we can hire it for anybody that wants to use it specifically for West Dorset.”
The group will be able to sell product from the van such as personal alarms and shed alarms as well as giving away items such as key chains.
Cllr Armitage said: “We just want to get the message out there that this is a lovely place to live and we want to keep it safe for everybody.”
David Taylor, who is vice-chairman of the panel, added that it was important not to send a message to would-be criminals that there are easy opportunities for crime in Dorchester.
Anyone interested in getting involved can contact Cllr Armitage on 07863 154635 or Cllr Taylor on 07905 352710.
POLICE PRAISE WORK OF COMMITTEE
INSPECTOR Steve Marsh of Dorchester Police has praised the role of the Crime Prevention Panel.
He said: “Dorchester Crime Prevention Panel works directly with the town’s local police team.
“The panel are volunteers with a broad range of experiences and skills that help provide valuable crime prevention guidance and support at the many events held throughout the year.
“As police resources continue to be stretched, effective crime prevention is a key method of stopping criminals at source and preventing local residents and commercial premises becoming victims of crime.
“Simple steps can make a real difference.
“The panel not only helps with such advice but can also be a critical friend providing a fresh look at crime prevention ideas and influencing the tactics police officers introduce.
“The committee chaired by Karen is a great help when it comes to driving key messages to the community and I hope that they continue to grow as a group and work alongside local police teams to make Dorchester safer and make its community feel safer.”