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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.

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Sixty firefighters tackle Ferndown factory fire

Explosions were heard coming from the factory in Ferndown Credit: Simon Rowley
Fifty firefighters from across Dorset were called to bring the fire under control Credit: Simon Rowley

The fire started in a property in Haviland Road, Ferndown. Shortly after Dorset Fire crews arrived they requested more for help. Aappliances from Ferndown, Wimborne, Redhill and Poole were mobilised and eight crews were sent to the scene.

Additional crews from Westbourne, Springbourne, Verwood and Christchurch were also mobilised, together with a high rise and support appliance The electricity board also attended as the building was under high voltage lines.

The building is a semi-detached industrial unit used as a metal finishing factory. An hour after the first call further assistance was requested and 12 crews attended in all - involving 60 fire fighters. Crews from Hamworthy, Ferndown, Wareham, and Blandford helped fight the blaze.

It is now under control.

Man jailed for attempted robbery

A 58-year-old man from Ferndown has been sent to prison for four years for an attempted robbery in the West Moors area of Ferndown.

Daniel Holland was jailed for 4 years for attempted robbery Credit: Hampshire Constabulary

Daniel Holland pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of an offensive weapon. He's been handed down a four year term in jail for the robbery offence and ordered to serve one years’ imprisonment – to run at the same time – for possessing a knife.

The court heard evidence that at 5.30am on Friday 14 March 2014 Holland entered the Tesco Express store on Station Road in West Moors wearing a beanie style hat pulled over his face with two holes cut out for his eyes.

He was also wielding an object, which is now known to be a plastic tube, which had plastic bags wrapped around it. Two members of staff were in the store at the time, one screamed when she saw Holland come into the shop, alerting her colleague who quickly came to her aid from the delivery room.

He challenged the offender grabbing the object from him while his colleague alerted security staff. Holland fled the scene discarding his beanie hat and a carrier bag containing a knife.

Robbery near Ferndown

Detectives investigating a robbery in West Moors have released three pictures of a man they would like to speak with. The incident happened at 6.50pm on Wednesday 26 February 2014 at Ladbrokes betting shop in Penn Court.

CCTV image released in connection with robbery Credit: Dorset Police

A man entered the store, threatened a member of staff with a knife and demanded money. He was handed a quantity of cash before leaving.

CCTV image released in connection with robbery Credit: Dorset Police

Detective Constable, Lee James, of Eastern CID, said: “I urge the man pictured – and anyone who recognises him – to contact me, in confidence, as soon as possible. I also would like to hear from anyone who saw this man enter or leave the premises around the time of the incident.”

Pensioner victim of aggravated burglary

Detectives in Ferndown are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward following an aggravated burglary in the area of West Moors.

The incident happened between 6pm and 9.40pm on Friday 20 December 2013 at an address along Heathfield Way.

An unknown man gained entry into the premises and attacked the occupier, a woman in her seventies. When she confronted him he pushed her wheelchair over, while she was seated in it, causing her to fall out and be trapped.

The offender carried out a search of the property and stole a large quantity of cash. He left the victim incapacitated on the floor to be discovered later by a member of her family. She sustained a head injury which required hospital treatment.

This is a despicable crime on a vulnerable elderly woman. The offender is described as dressed in dark clothing and is believed to have been wearing a balaclava with a white scarf or T-shirt covering his lower face. I urgently appeal for anyone who saw this man or recalls any suspicious activity in the area at the time to come forward as soon as possible."

– Detective Constable Andrew Burley, of Bournemouth CID

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RSPCA warning after 'spate of cat shootings'

Sandy having recovered from shooting. Credit: RSPCA

A cat has been shot with an air rifle in Ferndown, Dorset, leaving the pellet lodged in his jaw muscles just behind his eye.

The RSPCA say they are hunting the person responsible for the shooting. Sandy, a one year-old cat, was found last week by his owners with the bullet wound.

They rushed him to the emergency vets where he underwent treatment. He is now making a good recovery.

However, the RSPCA warns that there has been a spate of shootings in the area and are asking anyone with information to come forward.

RSPCA Insp Graham Hammond said: "Since the owner reported this incident, we have learned that there have been a number of similar incidents in the local area – so we are asking people to be vigilant.

“This cat appears to have been shot deliberately and could have been killed."

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the RSPCA in strictest confidence on 0300 1238018.

Lightning inspiration for school children in Dorset

Are you finding yourself run off your feet by the children during the summer holidays?

Does the finishing line seem a long way off? Are you looking for something that will channel their energy?

Well, organisers at one activity club - turned to an inspirational role model to help keep youngsters entertained. Martin Dowse went to see the results... you can see them here

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