SIX priorities guide the new Dorset Police and Crime Plan – with local people at the heart of all of them.

The claim comes from Police and Crime Commissioner David Sidwick who says he wants to make Dorset the safest county in England and Wales.

“There are six priorities in my plan: Cut crime and anti-social behaviour; Make policing more visible and connected; Fight violent crime and high harm; Fight rural crime; Put victims and communities first; and to make every penny count,” said the PCC.

Mr Sidwick said that each of the priorities come from the manifesto commitments he made during the election campaign for the position.

“It is, already, a safe county, but I am determined that it should be the safest and I will work tirelessly on your behalf to realise that,” he said.

The Commissioner believes that being a Conservative will help his campaign for a bigger share of the Government budget for Dorset, easing his access to Government Ministers and improving the chances of fairer funding for the county. It has long been argued that the formula for working out Government support dis-advantages smaller police forces such as Dorset.

“I will be making that case and we have eight Conservative MPs who I am talking to about what the needs for Dorset are,” he said.

Mr Sidwick says that working with local people will be fundamental to achieving success and is urging residents to speak out if they have concerns about policing matters.

He says he has attended dozens of meetings, both face to face and online, as well as conducting three surveys, which more than a thousand people took part in, before drawing up the Police and Crime Plan, which has just been published, five months ahead of schedule.

Mr Sidwick says that for most people anti-social behaviour is their main concern, followed by burglary, or fear of burglary; drug dealing and rural crime including farm thefts.

“People also told me they wanted greater engagement and connectivity from the police,” said Mr Sidwick.

He said that most people believe, wrongly, that the police should be the first place to call for anti-social behaviour, although for cases of noise as an example, the call should actually be made to the local council.

The Commissioner says that for some, anti-social behaviour often leads on to other, more serious, offending.

The Police and Crime Commissioner says that one of his tasks will be to encourage people to make the call to the right place, the first time, and is looking at ways in which that can be achieved, including using an online web-based portal, already in use with other forces.

“We often have people who phone 999 when it’s not a police matter. We had someone call 999 when they locked themselves out of their flat. That’s not a police matter – you need a locksmith,” said Mr Sidwick.

His other ideas include setting up a Rural Crime Board which will involve parish councillors, rural clergy and organisations such as the National Farmers Union. It will be used to identify areas of concern and suggest ways of tackling those problems specific to the countryside.

Mr Sidwick is urging people to report suspicious activity using the 101 email, unless a crime if happening immediately because the intelligence it offers might be important, when put together with what other people also report.

“It’s about what sort of future we want in Dorset … we need the police to play their part, the local authority, health, but we as individuals must also play our part and make it a better place,” he said.

The full details of the Police and Crime Plan can be found on the Dorset PCC website –