DORSET’S police commissioner is offering support to independent candidates in the local and general elections in a bid to “level the playing field”.

Martyn Underhill, who successfully stood for police and crime commissioner as an independent, is keen to set up a network of support and advice for independent candidates across the county.

Together with Marianne Overton, the Local Government Association’s independent lead, he has arranged a networking event for independent candidates at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne at 7pm on Friday, February 13.

Both he and Marianne will give a short talk about police and council precepts and local support groups will be on hand to offer guidance and advice.

Mr Underhill said: “Independents struggle to be equal to the political parties during elections, and I want to try to rectify that and generate networking and peer support.

“During my election, I had no one to turn to for advice.

“All I want to see is a level playing field for all. This meeting will help achieve that.”

Bournemouth East independent candidate David Ross welcomed Mr Underhill’s support.

In Bournemouth, he has set up the Bournemouth Independent Alliance (BIA) for Independent candidates looking to stand in the borough.

“The two advantages of being part of a group is that you get a logo on the ballot paper and access to the voters’ list for a longer period,” he said.

“We exist exactly as a support group, we are there to provide a brand and support. We are not a political party.”