DORSET’S Police and Crime Commissioner says he will do what he can to help Dorchester residents being disturbed into the early hours of the morning.

A town meeting this week heard residents complaints of fighting, vandalism, noise and drunken behaviour until dawn at the weekends.

Several people, and town councillors, complained that the police had been slow to react to the situation and sometimes were unable to turn out.

Martyn Underhill says he has taken note of what residents are saying and will work with the Chief Constable to help- but he warns that budgets are stretched and last year warned that unless police income increased people would have to expect a lesser service.

Dorset Police have suffered eight years of austerity. This means officer numbers are at the lowest they have been since 1981.

“It is timely that we are talking to residents about the policing precept over the next couple of weeks, as I believe it is vital that the Police get the funding they need, not only to maintain current service levels but to invest in dealing with emerging areas of demand.

“I take on board what the residents of Dorchester have said and I will work with the Chief Constable to address the issues they have raised, however, I would like to be very clear and say that without the £2 a month precept rise, the increasing financial pressures the Police are facing would ultimately mean a reduction in workforce numbers,” said the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Town councillors agreed a resolution which includes a call for the police to give the town higher priority.

The motion, which also calls for other agencies and publicans to work together was proposed by Cllr Andy Canning.

It reads: “The Planning and Environment Committee recognises the concerns of town centre residents at the growing number of late night incidents of anti-social behaviour and agrees that there needs to be a balance between the requirements of the night-time economy and the safety and quality of life of local residents. The Town Council calls on WDDC’s Environmental Health and Licensing officers to work with Dorset Police and local licensees to develop a co-ordinated strategy, based on Pubwatch, to address residents’ concerns. The Town Council also calls on Dorset Police to give a higher priority to providing officers to visit the town centre on Friday and Saturday nights. The Town Council recognises that there are limits to what can be done due to the cuts in Dorset Police’s funding and the way that the current licensing arrangements operate and will therefore write to the local MP asking him to lobby Government for greater funding for Dorset Police and for a review of the effectiveness of licensing arrangements in market towns.”

Members of Mr Underhill’s team will be at Tesco, Dorchester at lunchtime today to hear residents views about police funding.