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MARTYN UNDERHILL TO CONTINUE AS POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER

The Coronavirus crisis has had an impact on every element of British life and I know that many people are finding it difficult.

However, one impact of the emergency that has quite understandably been overlooked is it has caused delays to planned elections, including Police and Crime Commissioner elections, which will now take place in May 2021.

As you may know, I announced at the end of last year that I wouldn’t be standing in the May 2020 election – having served two terms as PCC for Dorset.

I have now decided, in conjunction with the Chief Constable and my own team, that I will continue serving for another year.

We are in the midst of an unprecedented, generation-defining moment – one in which policing will serve a crucial role and in which the service provided by our incredible officers, staff and volunteers will be more vital than ever before.

These next few days and weeks will also see the police using new powers and having to do something they have never previously taken responsibility for – enforcing a lockdown to ensure the coronavirus does not spread and the public are kept safe.

As forces use these new powers, PCCs and their offices will also take on the critical role of scrutinising exactly how they are doing this.

We have a long and proud tradition in this country of policing by consent. The police don’t enforce their powers using force, they do so with the corporation of the public, based on engagement with and respect for the communities they serve.

My role – and the role of other PCCs – is partly to scrutinise exactly what the police are doing. This is essential to ensuring that the policing by consent model works, as it is a proud tradition that I will continue to work hard to uphold.

Even, perhaps especially, during this challenging time I will continue working closely with Chief Constable James Vaughan to make sure the service is as good as it possibly can be.

Dorset Police is a force that punches above its weight and I can reassure the public that the Force is in a good position to deal with the current crisis.

But I cannot stress strongly enough that we all have a role to play – so please help protect our partners in the NHS, respect the lockdown and don’t go outside unless you absolutely have to.

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