Reassurances have been given that rural Dorset will receive some of the funding allocated to the county to help tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) - including putting extra officers on the streets.

The government is distributing £66 million to police forces in England and Wales to tackle ASB hotspots.

Dorset Police has been allocated £1 million which would allow the force to deploy more 'boots on the ground' in areas that need help the most.

The leader of Bridport Town Council, David Rickard, is hopeful that despite it not being a ‘major issue’ for the town, money will be put aside for the area.

He told the News: “We have had conversations with the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) about more presence.

“I don’t think Bridport is a particular hotspot, we have the odd incident, but it is not a major issue.

“We sort of got a promise that we will be seeing more uniformed officers on the beat and hopefully they will be able to deliver that.

“It is the older people who feel more vulnerable, so that presence is reassuring for a lot of people."

Cllr Rickard also highlighted that often money is prioritised for the county's urban areas, but whilst the issues in rural communities are ‘different’, he has been assured that not all the money will be ‘sucked’ into the big towns.

He added: "If you look at the population, when police are short, they tend to be deployed in the urban areas, Bournemouth and Poole, and possibly Weymouth to a certain extent have attracted more attention.

“I can understand it, but there are different issues in rural Dorset and I think there has been quite a bit of lobbying.

"There has been damage to farms and animals being killed in this area and it seems to have increased in the last six months.

“We have assurances from the PCC that it won’t all be sucked into Poole and Bournemouth and there will be money for rural issues and towns - we are fairly upbeat he will deliver on that.”

Dorset Police still need to apply for the money via the Home Office and it has welcomed the additional funds and will look to work closely with its partners in how best to deliver the money across the county.

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: “We have been notified of this funding opportunity and is now looking into the process and details of how to bid for it.

"Offers of grant funding will formally be made by the Home Office on approval of delivery proposals.

“The force is committed to driving down ASB throughout the county.

"We welcome any additional financial resources that might be available to us to tackle this issue and will consider the best opportunities to ensure the greatest impact for our communities.

“The force also works closely with partners such as housing associations, Dorset Council and BCP Council and with our community safety partnerships in order to identifying patterns of behaviour in relation to the locations and those responsible for ASB in the county to prevent and disrupt ASB early before it can take a grip on our communities.

"We also use partnership data to help inform hotspot patrols at key times – right place, right time philosophy in order to prevent anti-social behaviour and escalation into criminality.”

Police and Crime Commissioner David Sidwick added: “The aim of this funding is to ensure an enhanced uniformed presence in ASB hotspot areas.

"The objectives are firmly set in reducing anti-social behaviour, finding out more about residents’ needs when it comes to tackling ASB in their area, and to reduce the number of incidents requiring hotspot policing intervention.”