All ongoing initiatives to reduce sex crime in Dorset

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David Sidwick

DORSET Police have reaffirmed their commitment to cracking down on sexual violence in the county.

A series of initiatives have been put in place by the police to tackle the increase in reports of sexual offences, including the commissioning of an independent report on rape and serious sexual offences.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner David Sidwick said: “Make no mistake about it, tackling sexual offences, rape, domestic violence, harassment and VAWG are all priority areas and I will work tirelessly alongside the Chief Constable to reduce sex crimes and make Dorset the safest county.

Dorset Police recorded 1,235 incidents of sex offenses in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole in the 12 months to September, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Here are some of the Dorset Police initiatives to help reduce sex crime in Dorset:

Thinking about strength:

The CCP met with sexual violence charities to hear first-hand from victims and gain insight into the organizations that help them.

Alongside PCCs Wiltshire and Hampshire, Mr Sidwick has commissioned an Independent Report on Rape and Serious Sexual Offenses (RASSO) – the outcome of which has yet to be published.

Specially trained social workers and lawyers:

An Independent Criminal Harassment Advocacy Worker has been funded to ensure that victims of this type of crime are supported.

Dorset Police have increased their numbers of vulnerability lawyers, so further legal measures can be put in place to prevent domestic abuse, sexual offenses and harassment.

Protective orders:

A number of ordinances, including sexual harm prevention orders, have been put in place across the county, some lasting up to 10 years.

Alongside this, Dorset Police are carrying out active operations to identify and deter sex offenders, including Operation Vigilant, in Weymouth and Bournemouth, to reduce the risk to vulnerable people on night outs.

Beverage dosage:

Over 1,000 drink doping test kits have been purchased by Dorset Police.

Nearly 14,000 “stop-tops” and “bottle-top spikes”, to prevent drinks from being spiked.

£600,000 funding:

Part of the funding was allocated for CCTV and intervention workshops to help raise awareness, change societal attitudes and empower women and girls to feel safer.

And £200,000 has been dedicated to tackling domestic abuse – the funding has gone to the Up2U family practice model.

“The above list is just a snapshot of the work in progress,” Mr. Sidwick said.

“Only last week I was able to pose a question to Rachel Maclean, Minister for Protection at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners summit. I challenged the government on introducing a harassment registry for those who focus on sequential victims.

“I pledge to continue to ask the tough questions and increasingly call on our government to support those who have been victims of sex crime.”

(Anyone who has been sexually assaulted, whether recently or in the past, is encouraged to contact Dorset Police online from www.dorset.police.uk/do-it-online or by telephone 101. In an emergency always call 999. Not everyone will want to involve the police at first, but if they do please use the services provided anonymously by The Shores on 0800 970 9954 or www.the-shores.org.uk.)

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