CRIME has reduced in Dorset, new figures reveal, despite a significant increase in reports of anti-social behaviour (ASB) in Weymouth and Portland during the summer due to Covid-19 regulations.

Data released this week by the Office for National Statistic shows Dorset Police has seen a drop in crime of more than five per cent in the year ending June 2020.

The total number of crimes reduced from 54,677 to 51,908 over the 12-month period - a reduction of 3.6 crimes per 1,000 people. The 5.1 per cent drop means Dorset is the county with the 10th lowest crime rate in England and Wales.

Deputy Chief Constable Scott Chilton said: "Dorset remains one of the safest counties in the country to live in and to visit.

"The excellent work done by all our officers and staff to keep our communities safe is reflected in this reduction.

"All crime matters to our communities and we will maintain our focus on providing an outstanding service to the people of Dorset, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

"Reducing crime is important to everyone and I hope this will help to reassure our communities that we are working with them and partners to focus on what matters."

Despite the overall reduction in crime, reports of anti-social behaviour in Weymouth and Portland increased by more than 25 per cent in June and July 2020 compared to the same period last year - 1,503 reports in 2019 compared to 1,690 reports in 2020.

Inspector Barry Gosling, of Weymouth police, said: "There has been a significant increase in reports of ASB, some of which can largely be attributed to reported breaches of Covid-19 regulations, which fall under the category of ASB."

"We will continue to work with our partners and the local community to do all we can to ensure Weymouth is a safe place to live, work and visit and we will always look to identify areas of particular concern and take action to increase our visibility in these hotspots."

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill is thrilled with the latest figures. He said: "This is great news for Dorset residents, as these figures demonstrate that not only do they live in the UK's safest counties, but one in which crime levels are dropping."

"I would like to praise the dedication of all our officers, staff members and volunteers who have worked so hard through this very difficult period to keep people safe."