COMMUNITIES across the New Forest have seen a dramatic drop in crime – and police are vowing to make “relentless” efforts to reduce it further.

Figures for April to November show a decrease of more than 12 per cent, with 725 fewer offences committed in the district compared to the same period last year.

One of the biggest reductions was in car crime, which dropped by almost 27 per cent.

It follows special initiatives such as Operation Banstead, which led to two people being convicted of conspiracy to commit theft from vehicles.

One of the offenders was jailed for four years and the other was handed a suspended sentence.

The figures have been released by the new head of New Forest police, Chief Inspector Tony Rowlinson.

He said: “The New Forest is one of the safest places to live and work and have some recreation – and my mission is to keep it safe.

“Some of the crime reductions we have seen so far have been remarkable.

“It’s all about the smart use of police resources, making sure we’re less bureaucratic and more productive. Much of our work is intelligence-led and we get great help from the community.”

Police say part of their success stems from close working relationships with other organisations in the area.

New Forest District Council, the National Park Authority, the Forestry Commission, the Environment Agency, the National Famers’ Union and Natural England are all helping to combat crime.

Chief Insp Rowlinson added: “My message to anyone thinking of committing crime in the New Forest is that they will be caught and convicted. I will be relentless.”