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Police cuts: candidates call for protection of force
CANDIDATES for Dorset’s new police commissioner role are calling for officers to be protected amid a “deeply worrying” mix of cuts and a crime rise.
All three are planning to grill their chief constable if they win in order to get answers on last year’s rise in crime and want to find ways of saving the jobs of those on the front line.
Independent candidate Martyn Underhill wants civilian staff and PCSOs to be sacrificed before police officers and is most concerned about an 8 per cent rise in robberies.
He said: “Coupled with these staff cuts, to see crime on the increase as well highlights some “deeply worrying” issues for the Dorset Force, and the people of Dorset.
“These figures are massive compared to the national trends and the Chief Constable needs to be reassuring myself and the people of Dorset as to what his force is doing to reverse those trends.”
Bournemouth Councillor Nick King is standing as the Conservative candidate and said he wants to generate more government funding to hire more young police constables.
And he wants to check that lower ranking officers are not being sacrificed to save middle ranking jobs.
He said: “There has been a bigger drop in the front line than I would want to see.
“I think the important thing for the new commissioner is to look who those officers are who are leaving.”
Mr King said he wants tourist numbers and the night-time economy to be accounted for when Dorset Police funding is agreed.
And he said recruitment freezes are creating an “ageing” force in the county.
“My suspicion is that there’s opportunities to make greater saving by cutting out some of the middle ranking officers rather than those who are out on the beat,” he added.
“If I win one of the first things I will do is to ask where are these people being cut from as you can’t cut from the bottom.”
Rachel Rogers, Labour's Police and Crime Commissioner candidate for Dorset, said the figures are “shocking”.
She said: “Neighbourhood officers, 999 response and traffic police are being cut right across the country.
“The blame for these cuts lies squarely with the Tory-led Government.
“Our Chief Constable has been put in an impossible decision by this government’s decision to cut police funding by 20 per cent.”