DORSET Police has reaffirmed its pledge to crackdown on sexual violence in the county.
A range of initiatives have been set up by the police force to tackle the rising reports of sexual offences, including the commissioning of an indepent report into rape and serious sexual offences.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, David Sidwick, said: “Make no mistake, tackling sexual offences, rape, domestic abuse, stalking and VAWG are all priority areas and I will work tirelessly alongside the Chief Constable to drive down sexual crime and make Dorset the safest county.”
Dorset Police recorded 1,235 incidents of sexual offences in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole in the 12 months to September, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Here are some of the initiatives by Dorset Police to help drive down sexual crime in Dorset:
Reflecting on the force:
The PCC has met with sexual violence charities to hear from victims first-hand and gain insight into the organisations that help them.
Alongside PCCs in Wiltshire and Hampshire, Mr Sidwick has commissioned an independent report into rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) - the outcome of which is yet to be published.
Specially trained case workers and lawyers:
An independent stalking advocacy case worker has been funded to ensure victims of this crime type are supported.
Dorset Police has increased its numbers of vulnerability lawyers, so that further legal measures can be put in place to prevent domestic abuse, sexual offences, and stalking.
A number of orders including sexual harm prevention orders have been put in place across the county with some lasting up to 10 years.
Alongside this, Dorset Police have active operations to identify and deter sexual offenders including Operation Vigilant, in Weymouth and Bournemouth, to reduce the risk to vulnerable people on nights out.
More than 1,000 drink spiking testing kits were purchased by Dorset Police.
Almost 14,000 ‘stop-tops’ and ‘bottle-top spikes’, to help prevent drinks from being spiked.
£600,000 of funding:
Part of the funding was allocated for CCTV, and intervention workshops to help increase awareness, change societal attitudes, and empower women and girls to feel safer.
And £200,000 was dedicated to tackling domestic abuse – the funding went towards the Up2U Family Practice Model.
“The above list is only a snapshot of the work that is happening,” said Mr Sidwick.
“Only last week I got to put a question to Rachel Maclean, Minister for Safeguarding at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Summit. I challenged the government on the introduction of a Stalking Register for those who fixate on sequential victims.
“I pledge to continue to ask the awkward questions and ask for more and more of our government in support of those who have been a victim of a sexual crime.”
(Anyone who has been the victim of a sexual assault, whether recently or in the past, is encouraged to contact Dorset Police online from www.dorset.police.uk/do-it-online or by telephone to 101. In an emergency always call 999. Not everyone will wish to involve the police at first, but if that is the case please use the services provided anonymously by The Shores at 0800 970 9954 or www.the-shores.org.uk.)