Changes to counter service provision and the proposed sale of Ferndown divisional HQ have been announced today as a result of an extensive review of Dorset Police’s estates and contact management strategy.
The estates review was set up in 2010 aiming to examine and reshape the Force to achieve savings, and to ensure that Dorset Police continue to deliver the best service to communities by creating efficiencies and streamlining functions where possible.
The Force needs to find further savings of £9.5 million by 2015 – the result of continued reductions in central government funding, alongside inflationary cost increases.
The changes to counter services, and the decision to sell Ferndown HQ were ratified after a 12 month consultation process at the Force Strategic Change Board on Wednesday 17 September 2014. The changes will collectively save the Force an estimated £700,000.
Counter service provision is being reduced from 15 to nine locations, with four fulltime enquiry offices remaining in Bournemouth, Poole, Weymouth and Bridport.
Blandford, Gillingham and Sherborne will alternate opening two days each per week, with Swanage and Winfrith operating a ‘sign posting’ facility whereby staff help members of the public with their enquiries by directing them to relevant services.
“This decision has been one of the most challenging faced by Dorset Police in recent memory and, needless to say, it is not one that has been taken lightly. I think it is really important to remember that this time last year the Force announced the proposal to close 12 out of the 15 front office counters, and as a result of my intervention and the public intervention, the year long consultation took place which leads us to closing six. I know that six front office counters are six too many, but we have to meet our cuts somewhere when we are losing 20% of our budget. The initial review of station desk enquiry offices identified that they were an expensive and under-utilised resource, with only a small proportion of visits related to policing matters. Findings showed that in the five year period, 2009 to 2013, some offices received on average less than seven visits a day from members of the public."
Boscombe has been closed since 2012. Verwood and Wimborne have been temporarily closed since May and June 2014 respectively and will not re-open. Shaftesbury, Ferndown, Christchurch, Winton, Dorchester and Wareham will also close as a result of Wednesday’s decision.
Recent surveys indicate that three-quarters of the public prefer to contact Dorset Police by telephone and improvements have already been made to the 101 non-emergency service.
In response to public feedback last year, the Force and PCC announced that work was underway to improve Dorset Police’s online services and that joint agency initiatives would be explored to give members of the public more choice in the ways in which they can make contact and access up to date information.
The decision to sell Ferndown divisional headquarters and transferring 220 members of staff to other areas of the Force will save almost £400,000 a year in running costs – the equivalent of 10 front line officers or 17 Community Support Officers. The estimated value of the site is approximately between £6 and £8 million.
It is expected that the sale of the building and re-location of staff could take up to two years.
The Ferndown Safer Neighbourhood Team will continue to operate in the heart of the town from their local Community Office at the Barrington Centre.
“Dorset Police is the fourth lowest spending Force in England and Wales and is faced with a very challenging budgetary situation, so difficult choices have had to be made. We know that changes of this nature are emotive, however the Force cannot continue to provide the same style of service as in the past while operating with a significantly reduced budget. We are committed to providing the best possible service while reflecting true demand and value for money and an organisational change programme continues to improve efficiency and identify savings across the Force. The initial proposal to keep just two front counters was changed following extensive consultation with the communities and partner agencies. We have listened carefully to our stakeholders and retained services where they are most needed. The Force continues to ensure that there is a policing footprint in every town in Dorset and that we continue to deliver local policing from these locations.”
Dorset Police is already relocating some of its patrolling officers to response policing hubs in east and north Dorset. These locations have been identified to best meet the current and future operational needs of the county.
The Force estate continues to be reviewed in order to meet the financial challenges and operational demands that the police face.
A farm worker has been airlifted to hospital with serious head injuries after falling off the back of a moving pick up truck.
Police were called to the scene on Seven Ash Common Road at Holnest near Sherborne yesterday afternoon.
Officers say the 22-year-old man fell from the vehicle which was transporting cattle back to the farm.
He was taken to hospital in Bristol where he underwent surgery last night.
Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to contact PC 2464 Tatton of the Weymouth traffic office on 101.
Detectives are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward after a boy was approached by a man in a car in Sturminster Newton.
The incident happened at around 5.15pm on Wednesday 17 September 2014 at the base of Rabin Hill.
A car, described as an orange Ford Fiesta or Focus, pulled up next to the 9-year-old local boy and the male driver ask him whether he wanted to get in the car. The boy declined and walked away. The man then drove off.
The driver was described as white, in his mid-twenties, of skinny build with brown hair and a beard. He was wearing a black sweat shirt.
No arrests have been made.
"We are investigating the incident. Witnesses and anyone with information about the incident should contact Dorset Police. I would like to remind parents and children to be vigilant and to report any concerns to the police on 101.”
Officers investigating a road traffic collision involving a police car near Sherborne are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward.
At 6.06pm on Saturday 23 August 2014 a road traffic collision occurred on the B3146 at Osehill Green just off the A352 toward Glanvilles Wootton between Dorchester and Sherborne.
A Dorset Police vehicle was following a black Peugeot GTI which failed to stop as requested.
The Peugeot left the road and collided with a road sign. The male occupant alighted from the Peugeot and the police car, that was following, then collided with the driver.
A 28-year-old man from Yeovil sustained a serious injury to his arm and was taken to Dorset County Hospital. He was arrested for driving related offences.
A road closure was in place between the junction of the A352 with the B3146 and at the junction of the B3146 and Park Lane to allow specialist officers to investigate the scene.
"I am appealing for witnesses to the collision to come forward and contact police. I would also like to hear from anyone who witnessed the manner of driving of either vehicle leading up to the collision.”
Dorset residents have been targeted by conmen posing as police officers as part of a courier fraud scam.
Dorset Police received 19 reports of the attempted courier fraud in Weymouth last week.
Each victim reported how a man said he was calling from a police station, where they had a man in custody who had taken money from the would-be victim's bank account.
They were then told to withdraw large sums of money to send to London by courier or taxi.
The victims suspected the attempted scam and called the police. No money was stolen and Action Fraud has been notified.
A man wielding a hammer attacked a motorist before stealing his car. Witnesses said the victim was in a 4x4 vehicle when he was set upon in Mandale Road, Bournemouth.
He was later seen covered in blood walking towards Draper Road. The attacker fled the scene in the man's 4x4. Police said two men had been arrested but are yet to release further details. Officers appealed for information.
Detectives in Poole are appealing for witnesses to come forward after pensioners were targeted by fraudsters. Both victims were persuaded by workmen to withdraw thousands of pounds to pay for unnecessary work, but were stopped by alert bank staff.
A woman in her eighties went to her local bank and attempted to draw out £5000 in cash to pay workmen at her home. She advised the cashier that men had come round to cut her lawn in Kennart Road but told her she needed to pay them cash to have it paved instead. The bank did not allow the transaction and notified the police.
The second incident happened at an address on Emerson Road. A woman in her seventies informed a family member that a man had attended her home address and told her she needed to pay him £4000 cash to repair her roof. She attended her local bank to get the money, however, staff persuaded her not to make the withdrawal.
Neither victims had arranged for work to be carried out on their properties nor had any work been carried out.
Detective Constable Lee Emery, of Bournemouth and Poole CID, said: 'It was fortunate that the staff at both banks were alert and the women did not lose any money.
'We do not have any descriptions or any more information, therefore, I am appealing to anyone who may have been a victim of a similar crime or has any concerns about suspicious activity in their area to come forward.'
Witnesses and anyone with information should call Dorset Police in confidence on 101, quoting incident number 2:213. Alternatively, call the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where mobile phone tariffs may apply.
Thirteen properties were raided and sixteen arrests were made as police in Dorset carried out their largest anti-drug operation in years. Our report is from Martin Dowse.
Dorset Police caught 57 motorists flouting the law during a targeted operation today. Officers carried out patrols on the A350 from Poole to Shaftesbury in North Dorset to remind motorists of the importance of road safety. It was part of their 'no excuse' campaign.
The operation was a response to recent public concerns about bad driving along the A350. Officers said they wanted to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on Dorset’s roads.
They issued Fixed Penalty Notices in 24 cases of drivers or passengers not wearing seatbelts.
Thirteen motorists were caught speeding. Those over the limit which allows an education class instead of a fine have the option of a court hearing or a £100 fine plus and three penalty points.
Officers also handed tickets to 12 drivers who were caught driving while using a hand-held device.
“Dorset Police are concentrating on the fatal five contributory factors in road collisions in Dorset. These are excessive and inappropriate speed, driver distraction such as using a phone while driving, drink or drug driving, careless driving and not wearing a seatbelt.
“The aim of the day was a show of force to alert those drivers who continue to put themselves and others at risk that there is no excuse – simply do not do it. If you do, you will get caught.”
“Dorset Police are committed to keeping the roads as safe as possible for road users and local residents.
“We are aware of the concerns of local residents regarding the increased traffic along the A350 due to the closure of the C13 and we have taken a robust approach through this ‘no excuse’ day of action to identify and deal positively with road traffic offences on this route.
“Local police will continue to provide a high-visibility presence on a daily basis and we intend to carry out further proactive operations in the future.”
Video. She was caught 3 times over the drink drive limit with a baby in the car, but tonight a mother from Dorset is paying the price. Thirty-eight year old Deborah Anne Poulton has been fined and banned from driving for 2 years.
Another motorist described how she was weaving across the road, almost crashing into a cyclist. When police finally stopped her, they found her 13 month old baby in the car.
Her case has led to renewed warnings about the dangers of drink driving with a new campaign being launched across the South.
Martin Dowse reports.