HOME Secretary Theresa May insisted frontline policing was being protected when she spoke to the Tory party faithful in Beaminster.

Mrs May also urged people to vote in the police and crime commissioner elections when she attended a get-together of the West Dorset Conservative Association.

She was joined by West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin, who is Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, at the Public Hall on Friday evening.

Mrs May was greeted by association chairman Fred Horsington before meeting party members including Nick King, Conservative candidate for the forthcoming police and crime commissioner’s post in Dorset.

Mrs May said she was delighted to be in West Dorset in a week when a number of things had gone down, including unemployment, borrowing and crime.

She said: “There is now less chance of being a victim of crime than there has been since the Crime Survey began.

“It is good news and it shows the chief constables are doing what we have asked them to do which is to do more with less money.

“And they have taken that opportunity to say ‘how can we better fight crime?’ “We are seeing good results and the frontline is being protected.”

The Crime Survey for England and Wales measures the extent of crime by asking people whether they have experienced any crime in the past year.

It has measured crime in this way since 1982 and is conducted on behalf of the Office for National Statistics.

Mrs May said the fight against crime was not just about the number of officers.

“It is not about numbers, but it is about how you deploy them,” she insisted.

“If they are sitting in a station filling in forms they are not going to do much good in the fight against crime.”

Mrs May urged people to vote in the November 15 commissioner election.

She said it signalled the most significant democratic reform in policing in our time.

“Individuals will know that if they have a problem there will be someone they can go to. This election matters because it is about cutting crime and giving people a local voice.”

Mr Letwin thanked Mrs May for coming and joked that he and Mr King would be plotting together about going to ask her for more money for policing in Dorset, where the amount spent per head at £80 is some £35 less than the national average.