Martyn who? No-one we asked could name Dorset's Police and Crime Commissioner

Martyn who? No-one we asked could name Dorset's Police and Crime Commissioner

Martyn who? No-one we asked could name Dorset's Police and Crime Commissioner

First published in Crime and Court

CLAIMS that the public is clueless about local Police and Crime Commissioners have been borne out in Dorset.

Martyn Underhill earns £70,000 a year and has the power to set police priorities and budgets and to hire and fire the Chief Constable.

But a street survey carried out by the Daily Echo in Bournemouth revealed no one knows his name or his role.

We asked 20 people of varying ages, all resident in the county.

All were unable to name him, which mirrored a national study carried out earlier this week by the Electoral Reform Society.

The society said the elections held last year “failed both candidates and voters alike” and had a turnout of just 15 per cent.

Society Chief Executive Katie Ghose said: “This was a flagship policy designed to reconnect the public and the police yet, after spending £75 million, 90 per cent of Britons have no idea who their elected Police and Crime Commissioner even is.”

Kate Short from Christchurch said: “I didn't vote in the elections because I didn't know anything about it. All I had was one leaflet through the letter box but you can't vote if you don't know what you're voting for.”

Tony Gillett from Bear Cross said: “He gets paid a lot of money but I have no idea what he is supposed to be doing. I think it's a load of rubbish.”

And Linda Winter from Poole added: “I didn't know anything about the candidates so I didn't vote because I like to know what I am voting for.”

Aidan Edwards from St Ives said: “I had the opportunity to vote but I didn't take it because there was a general lack of information. The public should have known more about it.”

The Home Office has defended the elections. A spokesman said: “More than five million people turned out to vote for the first ever election of Police and Crime Commissioners, giving them an infinitely bigger mandate than the unelected and invisible police authorities they replaced.”

Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill said he agreed with criticism of the election but said he has met around 3,000 people in public meetings since he took on the role and does his best to interact with the public every day.

Mr Underhill said: “The way the elections were advertised and implemented was appalling.

“The day before the PCC elections, while I was campaigning in Poole and Wimborne, I was meeting people who had no idea what they were about. In addition, television advertising was poor and failed to explain the role.

“Despite all these issues I was humbled to win in every area of Dorset.”

Comments (11)

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1:36pm Tue 26 Feb 13

skydriver says...

I don't think he can take the blame for this, it's another government quango. He merely applied for the job. I agree that it's a grand sum for very little outcome, it's hardly value for money.
So Mr Underhill take the bull by the horns get a grip on this Echo article and prove your worth, then folk will be onside.
I don't think he can take the blame for this, it's another government quango. He merely applied for the job. I agree that it's a grand sum for very little outcome, it's hardly value for money. So Mr Underhill take the bull by the horns get a grip on this Echo article and prove your worth, then folk will be onside. skydriver
  • Score: 0

1:37pm Tue 26 Feb 13

oldgiraffe says...

No surprise that not many know the PCC's name! How many know the Chief Constable's or leaders of local Councils?
No surprise that not many know the PCC's name! How many know the Chief Constable's or leaders of local Councils? oldgiraffe
  • Score: 0

1:53pm Tue 26 Feb 13

Earl says...

Hardly surprising that no one knew his name if they are so apathetic to not bother voting or find out about the candidates so that they can make an informed decision.Of course if it all goes tits up and the PCC makes an almighty hash of the job you can always blame those of us that took the trouble and time to vote . . . or should we blame them that couldn't be bothered.
Hardly surprising that no one knew his name if they are so apathetic to not bother voting or find out about the candidates so that they can make an informed decision.Of course if it all goes tits up and the PCC makes an almighty hash of the job you can always blame those of us that took the trouble and time to vote . . . or should we blame them that couldn't be bothered. Earl
  • Score: 0

3:18pm Tue 26 Feb 13

Donna71 says...

I knew it was Martyn Underhill - I researched and voted for him, as his career had been in the police so figured he might have more insight than the rest of the candidates.

I believe he was active in the Sarah Payne Case and helped to campaign for Sarahs Law!

I’m sure somebody will correct me if I am wrong!
I knew it was Martyn Underhill - I researched and voted for him, as his career had been in the police so figured he might have more insight than the rest of the candidates. I believe he was active in the Sarah Payne Case and helped to campaign for Sarahs Law! I’m sure somebody will correct me if I am wrong! Donna71
  • Score: 0

4:27pm Tue 26 Feb 13

s-pb2 says...

Earl wrote:
Hardly surprising that no one knew his name if they are so apathetic to not bother voting or find out about the candidates so that they can make an informed decision.Of course if it all goes tits up and the PCC makes an almighty hash of the job you can always blame those of us that took the trouble and time to vote . . . or should we blame them that couldn't be bothered.
Excellent point. Its not Mr Underhill's fault, but the electorate who are too lazy to exercise their democratic right.

Kate Short, Tony Gillett, Linda Winter & Aidan Edwards are examples of this complete laziness and demand everything served on a plate. If i could spend 30 mins online finding out about the candidates in order to make a judgement in who to vote for im sure they could have done as well. Lazy!!

Im sure if Mr Underhill was on X-Factor, everyone would know him (apart from me!). Still people feel that who can do the best karaoke version of an Elton John song is far more important than who is running out country, our towns and our police.
[quote][p][bold]Earl[/bold] wrote: Hardly surprising that no one knew his name if they are so apathetic to not bother voting or find out about the candidates so that they can make an informed decision.Of course if it all goes tits up and the PCC makes an almighty hash of the job you can always blame those of us that took the trouble and time to vote . . . or should we blame them that couldn't be bothered.[/p][/quote]Excellent point. Its not Mr Underhill's fault, but the electorate who are too lazy to exercise their democratic right. Kate Short, Tony Gillett, Linda Winter & Aidan Edwards are examples of this complete laziness and demand everything served on a plate. If i could spend 30 mins online finding out about the candidates in order to make a judgement in who to vote for im sure they could have done as well. Lazy!! Im sure if Mr Underhill was on X-Factor, everyone would know him (apart from me!). Still people feel that who can do the best karaoke version of an Elton John song is far more important than who is running out country, our towns and our police. s-pb2
  • Score: 0

5:51pm Tue 26 Feb 13

manyogie says...

Donna71 wrote:
I knew it was Martyn Underhill - I researched and voted for him, as his career had been in the police so figured he might have more insight than the rest of the candidates.

I believe he was active in the Sarah Payne Case and helped to campaign for Sarahs Law!

I’m sure somebody will correct me if I am wrong!
No, your spot on, it is a shame though that since the high profile cavessing pre the election, he's dissapered from view now, not even an update on what's happened, happening, or going to happen.
[quote][p][bold]Donna71[/bold] wrote: I knew it was Martyn Underhill - I researched and voted for him, as his career had been in the police so figured he might have more insight than the rest of the candidates. I believe he was active in the Sarah Payne Case and helped to campaign for Sarahs Law! I’m sure somebody will correct me if I am wrong![/p][/quote]No, your spot on, it is a shame though that since the high profile cavessing pre the election, he's dissapered from view now, not even an update on what's happened, happening, or going to happen. manyogie
  • Score: 0

5:51pm Tue 26 Feb 13

manyogie says...

Donna71 wrote:
I knew it was Martyn Underhill - I researched and voted for him, as his career had been in the police so figured he might have more insight than the rest of the candidates.

I believe he was active in the Sarah Payne Case and helped to campaign for Sarahs Law!

I’m sure somebody will correct me if I am wrong!
No, your spot on, it is a shame though that since the high profile cavessing pre the election, he's dissapered from view now, not even an update on what's happened, happening, or going to happen.
[quote][p][bold]Donna71[/bold] wrote: I knew it was Martyn Underhill - I researched and voted for him, as his career had been in the police so figured he might have more insight than the rest of the candidates. I believe he was active in the Sarah Payne Case and helped to campaign for Sarahs Law! I’m sure somebody will correct me if I am wrong![/p][/quote]No, your spot on, it is a shame though that since the high profile cavessing pre the election, he's dissapered from view now, not even an update on what's happened, happening, or going to happen. manyogie
  • Score: 0

6:37pm Tue 26 Feb 13

Turtlebay says...

So Echo, you are obviously interested. Perhaps you can use some journalistic experience and tell us what his job is?
So Echo, you are obviously interested. Perhaps you can use some journalistic experience and tell us what his job is? Turtlebay
  • Score: 0

7:47pm Tue 26 Feb 13

Bournefre says...

Donna71 wrote:
I knew it was Martyn Underhill - I researched and voted for him, as his career had been in the police so figured he might have more insight than the rest of the candidates.

I believe he was active in the Sarah Payne Case and helped to campaign for Sarahs Law!

I’m sure somebody will correct me if I am wrong!
Clearly the majority voted the same way as you, hence how we ended up with Underhill getting the job.

It wasn't a difficult outcome to predict, the candidates being:
"The Tories"
Lib Dem (Nick Clegg's party)
Labour
UKIP (in certain areas)
... Or you could vote for the only guy with police experience to be police commissioner, who also happens to be 'independent'.

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Martin Baker (the previous Chief Constable, for those who didn't know) have even more experience of running the police force, and who would do it without charging an extra £70k a year plus ancillary costs?
I thought the role of police commissioner was supposed to be someone who would lick the police into shape and tailor it to the requirements of the law-abiding general public, and not yet another 'chief'.
Many voters however seemed to believe the people most suited to regulate the police were the police them selves (including 'old boys'), without considering how this could lead to increased laziness and corruption, leaving us with a police force more like that of Afghanistan.

The popular misconception is that 'the police have their hands tied' and 'can do very little with the resources they have to hand', but the reality is they can dispense a certain amount of 'summary justice' which could be a night in jail (the cells) before being released without charge without even involving judges or magistrates, or arresting someone and parading them around in handcuffs. From what I have witnessed on the streets of Bournemouth this tends to be reserved for "crimes" under "section 5 of the public order act" (in laymans terms 'annoying a policeman').
While this may serve as a deterrent to annoying policemen it doesn't do much to reduce 'real crime' as suffered by the law-abiding general public.
[quote][p][bold]Donna71[/bold] wrote: I knew it was Martyn Underhill - I researched and voted for him, as his career had been in the police so figured he might have more insight than the rest of the candidates. I believe he was active in the Sarah Payne Case and helped to campaign for Sarahs Law! I’m sure somebody will correct me if I am wrong![/p][/quote]Clearly the majority voted the same way as you, hence how we ended up with Underhill getting the job. It wasn't a difficult outcome to predict, the candidates being: "The Tories" Lib Dem (Nick Clegg's party) Labour UKIP (in certain areas) ... Or you could vote for the only guy with police experience to be police commissioner, who also happens to be 'independent'. Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Martin Baker (the previous Chief Constable, for those who didn't know) have even more experience of running the police force, and who would do it without charging an extra £70k a year plus ancillary costs? I thought the role of police commissioner was supposed to be someone who would lick the police into shape and tailor it to the requirements of the law-abiding general public, and not yet another 'chief'. Many voters however seemed to believe the people most suited to regulate the police were the police them selves (including 'old boys'), without considering how this could lead to increased laziness and corruption, leaving us with a police force more like that of Afghanistan. The popular misconception is that 'the police have their hands tied' and 'can do very little with the resources they have to hand', but the reality is they can dispense a certain amount of 'summary justice' which could be a night in jail (the cells) before being released without charge without even involving judges or magistrates, or arresting someone and parading them around in handcuffs. From what I have witnessed on the streets of Bournemouth this tends to be reserved for "crimes" under "section 5 of the public order act" (in laymans terms 'annoying a policeman'). While this may serve as a deterrent to annoying policemen it doesn't do much to reduce 'real crime' as suffered by the law-abiding general public. Bournefre
  • Score: 0

8:10pm Tue 26 Feb 13

Lewcee says...

"CLAIMS that the public is clueless about local Police and Crime Commissioners have been borne out in Dorset."
Stupid Straw Poll by the Echo.
I might ask - Who is the Editor of the Echo now that Neil Butterworth has been seen off?
Just as stupid.
Who are you and your maelevolent colleages in the Media going to pick on next?
Why don't you get back to what you used to do best, proper investigative journalism, in support of the Community you serve, instead of these "Stasi" like attacks on any thing that is not as left-wing as you are?
"CLAIMS that the public is clueless about local Police and Crime Commissioners have been borne out in Dorset." Stupid Straw Poll by the Echo. I might ask - Who is the Editor of the Echo now that Neil Butterworth has been seen off? Just as stupid. Who are you and your maelevolent colleages in the Media going to pick on next? Why don't you get back to what you used to do best, proper investigative journalism, in support of the Community you serve, instead of these "Stasi" like attacks on any thing that is not as left-wing as you are? Lewcee
  • Score: 0

9:41pm Tue 26 Feb 13

LordLilliput says...

What an utterly pointless story and poll.

Why would The Echo find a need to stop strangers on a street to ask them such a stupid question? I just don't understand the point - it's pretty obvious most people wouldn't know the answer to such an obscure and random question.

I really do wonder what drives this newspaper sometimes, certainly not quality journalism that's for sure.
What an utterly pointless story and poll. Why would The Echo find a need to stop strangers on a street to ask them such a stupid question? I just don't understand the point - it's pretty obvious most people wouldn't know the answer to such an obscure and random question. I really do wonder what drives this newspaper sometimes, certainly not quality journalism that's for sure. LordLilliput
  • Score: 0

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