New Home Office figures have revealed a rise in police officers in Dorset following a national recruitment drive.

Between September 2022 and September 2023, the number of police officers in Dorset rose from 1380 to 1460 – a total 80 extra bodies on the streets.

Police chiefs say they remain committed to making Dorset a ‘safer place for everyone’ and that they remain on target to recruit 125 extra officers by the end of the financial year.

At the end of March 2023 there were 1441 officers in the county meaning 19 had been recruited by September, this means that between then and March 2024 the force is set to employ an extra 106 officers.

Dorset Police’s Assistant Chief Officer Jo Mosley said: “We have continued recruitment campaigns for police officers during the past year and remain focused on ensuring we meet our commitment to sustaining police officer numbers over the coming years.

“We are on target to recruit 125 officers this year to the end of March 2024. Our subsequent recruitment campaign will launch in Spring 2024.

 “The force is wholly committed to making Dorset a safe place for everyone, and this commitment includes a strong focus on maintaining our standards of providing a quality workforce, continuing with our keen focus on recruiting fantastic people.”

The news comes after the government came under fire for a fall in police officer numbers in England and Wales.

Since the end of March the number of officers fell by 402 from 149,566 by September.

In 2019, former prime minister Boris Johnson committed to recruiting 20,000 extra police officers in England and Wales – based on head count – by the end of March 2023.

This target was set against a baseline of 128,433 officers, meaning the latest head count figure of 149,164 still represents an increase on the baseline of more than 20,000.

Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Sidwick has said that Dorset Police ‘exceeded’ its target in that three year period and that the extra ‘boots on the ground’ have meant the force has been able to invest in specialist teams.

He added: I am extremely pleased that Dorset Police not only met but exceeded its target for the government's National Police Uplift Programme, which saw 174 additional police officers recruited over the three-year scheme.

"Recruiting and retaining officers is incredibly important and something the force has been working hard to improve.

"More officers not only means more boots on the ground and out in our communities but also has allowed the force to invest in several specialist teams such as the Rural Crime Team and Missing Persons Team.

"I am keen to see these numbers maintained as we strive to make Dorset the safest county.”