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Gang with fireworks causes damage in Weymouth

Appeal for witnesses after criminal damage Credit: Dorset Police

Officers in Weymouth are appealing for witnesses to come forward following a spate of criminal damage involving fireworks in the town.

Police were called to Franklin Road following reports of a group of four men setting off fireworks in the street and throwing them at vehicles and buildings. Household waste bins caught alight and had to be extinguished by residents and a firework was propelled through the door of a passing taxi. Incidents in which fireworks were thrown through the letterboxes of two properties in nearby Longcroft Road were also reported.

The offenders have been described as wearing dark-coloured hooded jumpers. One was said to be wearing a dark coloured Adidas hooded jumper with grey stripes down the arms.

Police Constable Will Conroy, of Weymouth and Portland Police, said: “This was a frightening experience for the residents and members of public who were in Franklin Road at the time. I would like to hear from anyone who witnessed what happened or who may have information about the people responsible."

A 19-year-old man from Dorchester was arrested on suspicion of assault and has been released on police bail pending further enquiries until early December.

Witnesses and anyone with information should call Dorset Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

New gun amnesty in Dorset to take firearms out of use

Dorset Police are launching a gun surrender campaign today. The two-week amnesty aims to help take guns out of circulation in the county. Officers say they want to enable people who want to hand in unwanted firearms.

More than 300 firearms were handed in during a previous amnesty in Dorset in 2003. The weapons turned in included starting guns, BB guns, air weapons, shotguns, pistols and rifles. Ammunition was also surrendered. Officers said the vast majority of the firearms were not being used for criminal activity.

"We acknowledge that the vast majority of firearms owned in Dorset are legally held and responsibly used.

"However, from time to time members of the public acquire firearms either as a result of inheriting them or, in some cases, as a result of changes to legislation when legally held weapons become illegally held weapons.

"In order to ensure that firearms do not end up in wider circulation and potentially become available for unlawful or criminal use, Dorset Police is participating in a national firearms surrender campaign.

"We want to stop guns falling into the wrong hands. Every gun given up is one less that poses a threat or that criminals can potentially get hold of.

"The campaign will allow people to surrender firearms across Dorset during these dates.

"I would like to remind residents that Dorset is a very safe place to live with very low levels of gun-related crime. Levels of illegally held firearms are low but this is a real opportunity for members of the public to relinquish any weapons that may be outside the law."

– Operational Support Superintendent Nicky Searle, Dorset Police

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Aggravated burglary in Bournemouth

Detectives in Bournemouth are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward after an aggravated burglary in the Boscombe area of the town.

The incident happened at around 5pm on Saturday 18 October 2014 at an address along Palmerston Road.

A large group of men wearing balaclavas entered the house and approached the victim. One man held a gun to the victim’s head while another held a knife to his throat – they all spoke with London accents.

The victim who is in his late teens was subsequently sprayed in the eye with an acid type substance and is still recovering in hospital.

The victim has described one of the attackers as white, around six feet tall, of thin build and wearing a grey beanie hat and scarf or balaclava. He had a pronounced bridge area on his nose and was wearing a dark blue waterproof coat.

“This was a very distressing incident for the victim having suffered a serious eye injury. I would urge anyone who saw suspicious activity along Palmerston Road between 4.50pm and 5.30pm on Saturday 18 October to come forward. Anyone with information about the men responsible should contact police in confidence.”

– Detective Sergeant Paul Auger, of Bournemouth CID

Sale of Ferndown HQ approved by Dorset Police

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."

– Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill

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.”

– Chief Constable Debbie Simpson

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.

Farm worker airlifted to hospital in Dorset

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.

Boy approached by man in car in Dorset

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.”

– Detective Constable Tony O’Connell, of Western CID

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Man in hospital after crash involving police car

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.”

– Police Sergeant Dave Stroud

Courier fraud scam targets Dorset residents

Dorset residents targeted by a courier fraud scam Credit: Press Association Images

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.

Hammer attack on motorist in Dorset

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.

Pensioners targeted by fraudsters in Dorset

Workmen tried to persuade pensioners to withdraw cash for unnecessary work Credit: Press Association Images

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.

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