Police have launched a seasonal campaign to tackle crime.

Dorset Police is launching its ‘Safer Christmas’ campaign - mainly focusing on shoppers and retailers - to remind people of the simple safety measures they can take to ensure they don’t become a victim of crime.

It will also give out helpful advice to shoppers when parking their vehicles, as people will often leave purchased gifts on display, making their vehicle an easy target for opportune thieves.

Police say in the campaign that Dorset is 'open for business, but closed for crime'.

Officers will also be out and about in the run up to Christmas, and where possible, will attend shopping events and Christmas markets.

Superintendent Gavin House, the Neighbourhood, Partnership and Safeguarding lead at Dorset Police, said: “This is one of the busiest times of year for shoppers and retailers and there are simple prevention measures people can take to make it harder for thieves.

“We are urging retailers to think carefully about where they place their most valuable stock; to keep it away from doors and window displays and to place it where staff can best keep an eye on it.

“We are urging shoppers to be vigilant to people who may want to steal their wallets and other valuables from their bags, so keep them closed at all times, especially in crowds.

 “We are reminding drivers that when parking their vehicle to choose a well-lit spot, ensure their vehicle is locked and never leave any valuables or gifts on display.”

Operation Shopkeeper was also launched in November which sees the police work closely with community safety partners and Business Improvement Districts to identify prolific shoplifters and theft hotspots.

Chief Inspector Alyssa Forrest, who launched the operation, said: “Operation Shopkeeper targets prolific shoplifters who are causing the most harm in our communities via theft.

“People who are perpetrating business crime can expect to be dealt with robustly, with potential banning orders and civil orders, on top of criminal convictions.

READ MORE: West Bay shop owners 'heartbroken' by surge in shoplifting

“By working together, we can help reduce the cost and blight of theft on our communities. We want to send a clear message that Dorset is open for business but closed for crime.”

The News has previously reported that there has been a huge spike in shoplifting in the 12 months between June 2022 and 2023.

Whilst Dorset Police said that the majority of these crimes get left unresolved and that during its ‘week of action,' only 13 shops in west Dorset were visited by officers.

READ MORE'Shoplifting is definitely getting worse' says West Bay SPAR

Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick added: “In recent weeks, I have been out and spoken to various business owners across Dorset who have told me how serious and damaging incidents of shoplifting can be, especially when it comes to staff being abused or attacked.

“I would like to reassure retailers and their staff that such incidents are not treated lightly and that robust action will be taken against these thieves.”