Police appear to be winning the war on crime in Weymouth and Portland after it was revealed there has been a dramatic drop in offences.

The success story was outlined in a presentation to a business meeting by Inspector Barry Gosling, who is in charge of the area’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, and who said the town centre area had also seen a reduction in crimes including violence and shoplifting.

This success may be attributed to the 100 Days of Summer campaign, a concerted effort by the local policing team to step up patrols and maintain a visible presence in the town centre throughout the season.

Statistics for the period April to September show there was a 6 per cent reduction in overall crime in the borough – the equivalent of 171 fewer incidents – compared with the same period last year. Meanwhile, there was been a 31 per cent decrease in anti-social behaviour, the equivalent of 344 fewer incidents.

For the town centre there was a 21 per cent drop in overall crime including a 30.5 per cent reduction in anti-social behaviour.

Speaking at Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce’s business breakfast, Insp Gosling said: “What I’m really proud of is some of the work my team and I have been doing around the town centre where a lot of visitors are focused. I think from speaking to people in the community that it’s starting to feel noticeable, which is fantastic, and we’ve had some really positive feedback through our channels.”

He told how the neighbourhood policing team had also been helping reduce the amount of crimes which affect businesses.

This includes:

  • 34.8 per cent reduction in shoplifting in Weymouth and Portland (46.8 per cent decrease in town centre)
  • 12 per cent reduction in thefts from vehicles in Weymouth and Portland (50 per cent decrease in town centre
  • Violent crime increased by 3 per cent in Weymouth and Portland (but 13 per cent decrease in town centre)

Insp Gosling said the rise in violent crime for the borough was due to the fact victims of domestic abuse were getting the support they need which was leading to more of them having the confidence to report offences.

He discussed the importance of businesses supporting vulnerable members of staff, and said: “If I put it into a business context for you, it’s about knowing your staff and actually speaking to them, because there’s a lot of people out there who suffer from domestic abuse at home and for employers it’s important to get to know those members of staff and support them through work.”

Insp Gosling added: “I’m really passionate about engagement, we need to understand our community and their needs and concerns and we need to engage with the harder to reach groups. The business community is one of those groups.”

He said he and Claudia Moore from Weymouth BID will be organising surgeries, where the business community can come to talk about any issues they’re facing, so the force can focus police resources on dealing with the problems.

100 Days of Summer was a success:

Results and feedback from the 100 Days of Summer campaign are currently being collated by Dorset Police – but the Echo has reported how many saw this as a great success and would like the effort to continue into the winter.

At the business meeting, Julia Cohen, Vice President of Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, said: “What’s next after the campaign?”

She praised the scheme and said it had been very successful.

Insp Gosling replied: “We have looked at the 100 Days of Summer initiative. We are now coming to the end of that scheme and are looking at what has worked and what we could have done better.

“We will still be updating people through social media about what we are doing and where we are doing it, that will continue.”

He added: “There was no extra funding. During the 100 days it was about my team being flexible, moving shifts around.

“I took officers and said, you’re going to be focused on the 100 Days of Summer campaign’.”

Insp Gosling said the planning that went into the campaign would continue and that it will be ‘back to business as usual’.

“Most of my staff love Weymouth and Portland and want to see it become a safer place.”