CRIME in Dorset is at a 15-year low as policing faces radical changes.

Chief Constable Martin Baker told members of the Dorset Police Authority crime had fallen by 14.6 per cent between April and August compared to the same period last year.

As of November this year the current system will be dissolved and replaced by an elected Police and Crime Commissioner.

This is part of a national move under new government plans to change the police system.

The Police, Reform and Social Responsibility Bill Act was passed last year.

The current system is made up of 17 members, some councillors and local representatives and some independent members.

Their job is to ensure an effective and efficient police service. Members agreed the reduced crime figures ensured that a positive legacy would be handed over. Mr Baker said: “The most encouraging achievement is that we are now in our 15th consecutive year of crime reductions.

“Serious sexual offences are down and so are violent crimes.”

He told members that he was ‘humbled’ by the dedication of officers and staff ahead of the changes.

He added: “However, the number of people fatally and seriously injured has unfortunately increased.”

Chairman Mike Taylor said figures which revealed 95.7 per cent of 999 calls had been answered within 10 seconds demonstrated ‘a great improvement over the last ten years.’ The report noted the challenges faced by the force this year which included the Olympic Sailing events, two major landslides and five murders.

Mr Baker added: “Crime figures are very complex and we need to communicate the difference between sanctioned and detected crime.”

All Change Under Revamped System

CHIEF constable Martin Baker will step down ahead of changes to the policing system.

Deputy Chief Constable Debbie Simpson has been appointed Acting Chief Constable and will take up her new role from October.

She is overseeing preparations for the transition from police authorities to an elected Police and Crime Commissioner.

Mr Baker said: “After eight years as Chief Constable in Dorset and over 38 years as a serving police officer, I feel the time is right to hand over leadership of the force.”

He told members of the final Dorset Police Authority meeting that his team were some of the most ‘intelligent’ and ‘intuitive’ he had ever worked with.

Chief executive Martin Goscomb praised the work of Mr Baker for the past eight years.

Latest Figures

Performance for the 2012/13 financial year compared to 2011/12.

  •  Number of most serious violent crime – down from 48 to 41 – 14.6 per cent
  •  Serious sexual offences – down from 245 to 183 – 25.3 per cent
  •  Domestic violent crime – down by 1,493 to 1.314 – 12 per cent
  •  Alcohol related violent crime – down from 1,627 to 1,074 – 34 per cent
  •  Anti-social behaviour – down from 5,694 incidents to 2,184 – 20. 3 per cent. 
  •  Dwelling burglaries – up from 875 to 925 – 5.7 per cent.
  • Number of people fatally or seriously injured has increased by 8.9 per cent, eight additional casualities