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Dorset PEEL 2016


How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 02/03/2017

Dorset Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has an effective approach to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, investigating crime and reducing re-offending. It protects vulnerable people well and is good at tackling serious and organised crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year, when we judged the force to be good in respect of effectiveness.

Overall, the effectiveness of Dorset Police is good. It provides an effective service to the public with clear priorities of reducing harm across the county and protecting the most vulnerable people in the community.

The force has a coherent approach to neighbourhood policing that means local officers across the force understand the problems which affect communities. They work well with other public service organisations to prevent crime and reduce anti-social behaviour.

Crime investigation is managed well in most areas. There are good systems in place to investigate crime and help victims. The reduction of re-offending by the most serious and dangerous offenders is also effective. However, the force needs to improve its method of integrated offender management.

The identification and management of vulnerability are priorities for the force. The way that priorities, plans and decisions are agreed is strong and there are well co-ordinated processes that provide effective safeguarding across the force. The force has integrated its service with other partner organisations (such as local authorities, or health and education services), and continues to invest in keeping people safe.

The management of serious and organised crime is good. The force’s understanding of local criminal networks is evolving in line with the threats that it deals with. There are good relations with regional police specialists and other partner organisations at local and national level, and the force works well with the public to fight and prevent crime.

The arrangements in place to ensure that the force can fulfil its national policing requirement obligations are good. Its active monitoring of threats and continual review of its capability to respond are effective.

The force is experiencing resource pressures. The prioritisation of vulnerability is creating more demand and is increasing pressure on police resources. The pressure could be alleviated more by the use of effective mobile technology, which at present is not widespread, and some force systems are not configured to serve operational needs in the best way. The force must address these problems to remain as effective as possible.

Questions for Effectiveness


How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?


Dorset Police is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. This is consistent with HMIC’s effectiveness inspection in 2015.

The force has overall objectives to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, protect people from harm, and provide appropriate levels of neighbourhood policing. It has effective methods of gathering and analysing information from different sources to ensure that it understands communities and their problems. It has a good neighbourhood policing structure with officers and PCSOs who work well with other partner organisations. Officer and PCSO awareness of the need to protect the most vulnerable people in society is widespread, and the desire to gain a greater understanding of communities who are less likely to take part in traditional forms of engagement, and to talk to members of those communities, is welcomed.

The review of the neighbourhood policing model has given the force a good foundation for working with people in the community, and for problem solving that benefits communities. Relations with other partner organisations are good and joint problem solving is effective. The force uses a variety of preventative tactics and interventions. It seeks to improve its performance by adopting best practice and new ideas in a considered way.


How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?


Dorset Police is good at investigating crime and in most aspects of reducing re-offending. It has consistent control room processes that gather information, assess risk and allocate resources effectively. However, there are resource pressures in response teams which cause delays in attending some crime scenes.

The force investigates crime to a good standard, from the initial response to the subsequent handover, allocation and follow-on investigation. Investigating officers are appropriately supported by specialist technical and investigative services.

Officers and staff provide a good service to victims of crime and satisfaction rates remain high. The force has plans to improve its method for recording compliance with the victims’ code.

Overall, the force pursues wanted suspects and manages outstanding forensic tasks effectively. High-risk cases are managed at force level and local supervisors oversee the remainder. The force needs to satisfy itself that it has a full understanding of the volume of wanted suspects.

The management of the most harmful offenders is good. Its management of high-risk offenders is robust, and there is a wide understanding across the force. It needs to review its integrated offender management (IOM) function to ensure that its structure and remit optimise public protection.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that it responds with appropriate promptness to reports of crime.
  • The force should consider widening its approach to integrated offender management to maximise its impact on reducing threat, harm and risk. There should be clear measures of success which enable the force to evaluate how effectively it is protecting the public from prolific and harmful offenders.
  • The force should ensure that the risks posed by registered sex offenders are managed effectively.


How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?


Dorset Police is good at protecting vulnerable people from harm and supporting victims. It defines vulnerability clearly and there is a good understanding among officers and staff. Assessments for risk and vulnerability are evident in all parts of the force and they guide the police response. There are appropriate structures and governance in place. The force understands the risks it is dealing with.

The processes in place to gather and disseminate information, both internally and with other partner organisations, are effective. The need to safeguard vulnerable victims and protect others at risk is well understood. Officers respond to victims and investigate crime well, but some officers have high workloads.

The force’s method of working with other partner organisations is understood and accepted. Vulnerable people receive better protection from the co-ordinated approach which is taken. It is anticipated that the introduction of the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) in 2017 will trigger further benefits, but it may also increase demand.

Victims of domestic abuse are provided with a good service at initial response and by specialist teams. The force takes a robust approach towards domestic abuse offenders to reduce the harm they cause.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should improve its initial investigation of cases involving vulnerable victims by providing responding officers with access to video-recording equipment to show evidence of injuries and crime scenes.


How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?


Dorset Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. Its strategic governance processes are effective and it is improving its understanding of the breadth and scale of serious and organised crime in the county by updating its local profiles. The force has made changes to its intelligence structure and this has brought the subject areas of crime and vulnerability closer together.

The mapping of organised crime groups is in line with national guidance and the force tackles sub-OCG crime groups effectively with the active participation of officers and staff from across the force. The management of serious and organised crime is good, and methods of working with other partner organisations are integrated into the approach. The force is increasing the adoption of the 4Ps approach to dealing with all serious and organised crime.

The force works with children and young people to prevent them from becoming involved in crime. The force uses the legal orders which are available to help tackle serious and organised crime, and monitors them appropriately. There is planned and effective communication with the public that keeps communities informed.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should further develop its serious and organised crime local profiles in conjunction with other partner organisations in order to enhance its understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime, and to inform joint activity aimed at reducing this threat.


How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?


Dorset Police has effective specialist capabilities.

The force has good plans to respond to the threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement (PDF document) and is prepared to fulfil its national policing responsibilities. The force regularly tests these plans and uses the learning to develop its procedures.

The force is well prepared to respond to a firearms attack. The force has recently reviewed its assessment of threat, risk and harm and this now explicitly includes the threats posed by marauding firearms terrorists. In light of this threat, Dorset Police plans to increase its armed response vehicle firearms capacity and capability. The force is progressing with its implementation of these plans.