DORSET Police has confirmed it is pumping more resources into tackling rural and wildlife crime.

The force has said going forward there will be a team of dedicated officers as part of the rural team across Dorset, including an inspector.

Dorset Echo: Dorset Police chief constable Scott ChiltonDorset Police chief constable Scott Chilton

The rural crime team across the county has now gone from three dedicated officers up to 10 and a specialised rural police van, with plans to bring in more special constables and voluntary roles.

Announcing plans at a launch event at Kingston Maurward College, Rachel Farrell, Assistant Chief Constable, said: "We're expanding to help rural communities, which have said they feel isolated.

"We've gone from three rural crime officers to 10, which is part of the Government's plans to recruit 20,000 new officers across the country."

Assistant chief constable Farrell said the force has to make it as 'difficult as possible' for rural offenders.

She added: "In towns and built-up areas, it's easier to monitor communities through CCTV cameras, but in rural areas we don't have that type of luxury.

"Policing rurally is a different beast and we have to tackle it in a different way. This starts by providing more dedicated rural officers to tackle crimes such as fly-tipping, poaching, hare coursing as well as machinery theft. Our rural crime team uncovered a major plant machinery theft operation in Dorset worth more than £300,000.

"We have to make it as difficult as possible for rural crime to occur."

As part of the new rural crime team launch, Dorset Police will be working with organisations including Forestry England.

Forestry England wildlife ranger Mark Warn said: "We cover around 9,000 hectares within Dorset and our biggest concern is crimes such as anti-social behaviour, wildlife crime and fly-tipping.

"To work with the police as part of this new rural crime team is great.

"We'll be sharing intelligence and keeping in close contact so we can work together and impact crimes such as wild camping and fly-tipping.

"For experience, wild camping leads to unauthorised fires - we can be devastating to the environment."

Dorset Echo: Forestry England wildlife rangers Mike Radice (left) and Mark WarnForestry England wildlife rangers Mike Radice (left) and Mark Warn

Dorset Police Chief Constable Scott Chilton said: "The rural crime team is our way of showing we want to prioritise less densely populated areas. We want people living in rural areas to feel safe.

"Going forward, I want to put more officers into rural communities. So, we're hoping to put dedicated special constables in these areas."

Dorset Echo: Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner David SidwickDorset Police and Crime Commissioner David Sidwick

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner David Sidwick said bringing in dedicated rural officers is part of the force's bid to tackle anti-social behaviour across the county.

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