A LEADING figure of a countryside policing team has spoken out about the work it has done to keep Dorset’s rural communities safe over the course of this year. 

PC Claire Dinsdale, co-ordinator of Dorset’s Police Rural Crime Team, has explained the best practices happening across the county as a rural affairs strategy is discussed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

PC Dinsdale highlighted the ongoing issues of fly-tipping, machinery plant and vehicle theft and offences against livestock happening in Dorset, and what is being done to combat the blight.

A dedicated training day for all rural neighbourhood policing teams took place, which included advice and support from NFU agricultural specialist Clive Harris, as well as inputs from national services on the best practice to deal with crimes. 

In information published by the National Rural Crime Network, PC Dinsdale said: “To coincide with the training programme, a checklist for staff at farms and firms where machinery, vehicles and plant is used has been established to ensure theft is gradually eradicated by increasing prevention methods.

“Several livestock offences have highlighted the need for a toolkit guide for staff, training, and attendance at partner events too. Metal-backed bright red signs have been produced, warning dog walkers of the dangers to livestock, and these have been given to victims of livestock attacks across Dorset to display on their land.

“The use of community resolution and restorative justice, whereby the suspect pays vet’s costs or compensation to the farmer for sheep, have proved invaluable. Recent repeat offenders have been taken to court, fined £550 in total and now have a potential Criminal Behaviour Order application pending.”

Every six weeks, the rural crime team hold meetings where they discuss the top individuals impacting the community. PC Dinsdale says meetings are also held regularly with officers from forces in surrounding counties to focus on cross-border offending. 

PC Dinsdale commended the power of connectivity in helping the team tackle rural crime.

She said: “With social media such a key part of the public’s lives the use of Dorset Alert, a dedicated crime messaging service, has been instrumental in the rural community, ensuring people can keep an eye out for vehicles used in crime. 

She added: “Finally, Dorset Rural Crime Partnership launched in the autumn. Its first meeting brought together various non-governmental organisations, landowners, a farmer, and other stakeholders. The top concerns raised were fly tipping and poaching. The next forum will bring together a small group of farmers, landowners and gamekeepers in what will prove a manageable focus group.”