DORSET Police acting chief constable Debbie Simpson has been chosen to take over as the force’s top officer on a permanent basis.

Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill and a selection panel selected her as the next Chief Constable of Dorset Police after two days of interviews and tests.

She is currently Acting Chief Constable with the Dorset force. Her selection will now be considered at a confirmation hearing by the police and crime panel on Thursday February 7 at County Hall, Dorchester. Mr Underhill said: "I am delighted to propose Debbie Simpson as the next chief constable of Dorset.

"This was a unanimous decision by the panel. “There was a strong range of candidates and the panel had a difficult job. “I would like to thank all the candidates for their interest.”

Acting Chief Con Simpson was chosen following a two day selection process which involved interviews and tests. During the procedure the candidates were also questioned by representatives of agencies and staff associations. They included the Police Federation, Unison, the Superintendents Association, Dorset Probation Trust, Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, Dorset Community Safety Partnership and Neighbourhood Watch. The appointments panel was made up of Mr Underhill, who was chairman, Geoff Pears, an independent member of the selection panel; Colin Weston JP and chairman of the joint independent audit committee, Dorset County Council chief executive and Steve Mote of Victim Support. Three more people were also in attendance: Martin Goscomb, chief executive providing administrative support, a former chief constable Paul West as professional policing adviser to the selection panel and Coun John Adams, who is vice-chairman of the Dorset police and crime panel, who attended as an observer.