DORSET’S police force has been praised for keeping people safe and reducing crime across the county following an inspection.

A report conducted by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found Dorset Police to be ‘good’ in all areas - although there are areas for improvement.

Chief Constable James Vaughan and Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill have welcomed the findings.

Wendy Williams, HM Inspector of Constabulary, reported that the force is good at investigating crime with well-trained investigators and a high standard of case files, although some investigations “are not supervised thoroughly enough.”

The report made particular note of Dorset Police's efforts to protect vulnerable people and respond to incidents promptly, with the Chief Constable making this "a priority."

However, improvements are still to be made to its safeguarding referral which is operating with "significant backlogs."

HM Inspectorate said Dorset Police has good efficiency and sustainability, praising its “realistic” financial plans, and the force treats the public fairly.

However, officers stop and search a “disproportionately high” number of people from black Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and the force has been ordered to ensure officers and staff recognise “unconscious bias.”

HM Inspectorate said: “The force understands its communities. It is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It investigates crime well and works well with partner organisations to identify and protect vulnerable people.

“The force has a good understanding of current demands for its services. It plans to use technology to improve public contact in the control room, and mobile technology to help frontline staff."

The report, published yesterday (27), comes after the fifth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment for Dorset Police.

Mr Vaughan said: “I am delighted that HMICFRS has assessed Dorset Police’s as ‘good’ across all areas inspected. I am particularly pleased that our commitment to protecting vulnerable people was recognised.

“I have set a high ambition for the force. We aim to provide an outstanding police service across Dorset with a particular focus on services to vulnerable people.”

The inspection report acknowledged that Dorset Police has a good charge rate, in line with, or above, other forces in England and Wales.

For the 12 months to September 30 2018 the proportion of offences given a charge or summons outcome was 9.6 percent, compared to a national rate of 8.3 percent.

Mr Vaughan continued: “Economic conditions mean that the funding climate for policing has been tough over recent years and I understand the pressures and demands this has placed on staff.

“I am pleased that we have been given a commitment to significantly uplift spending in policing and this will provide the means to take us from good to outstanding."

Mr Underhill said: “I’m incredibly pleased to see that my investment in a fund to look after the physical and mental wellbeing of officers and staff has been acknowledged.

"I’ll be working closely with the Chief Constable to make sure the workforce continues to benefit from this investment, and that the Force continues to provide the best service possible to our communities."