"WE are still a high performing police force despite the reduction in resources."

That's the message from the new boss of Dorset Police James Vaughan who took office as the forces new chief constable this week who has hit back at comments made by Dorset Police Federation chairman Tony Tester last week.

Mr Tester said that "visible patrolling" from police across the county has fallen by 37 per cent over the past decade due to Government funding cuts.

He stressed that visible patrols (uniformed officers on the streets) were essential to curbing ever increasing numbers of violent crime within the county and that the cuts the force had made had simply gone "too far."

The Federation added that the force had 1,505 officers in 2007, but by last year that number had fallen to 1,209.

However, Mr Vaughan insisted that neighbouring policing was at the heart of the force's priorities adding that they were committed to supporting communities who deserved and needed a local police presence.

He added: "Central government funding for the police service has fallen over a period of years and this had ultimately led to a reduction in policing numbers

"However, this has happened over all the country and the reduction in funding has meant that have had to change the way in which we deliver our service."

Upon taking office this week, he stressed that the men and woman of the force which includes all officers, staff and volunteers have all delivered enormous changes across the force in recent year .as it sought to slim down its operating budget by £37 million.

He added: "To have delivered so much change and to be continuing to provide good services to the public is a testament to the everyone that works for and supports the force.

"The nature of crime is always changing and we must ensure our workforce reflects the modern demands we face.

"Increasingly these are complex and often hidden from public view, such as online crime and child sexual exploitation, which are particularly impactive on victims."

It comes after the force increased its council tax precept by £12 per year or £1 per month in April.