DORSET'S top police officer James Vaughan will continue his role as Chief Constable in a permanent capacity.

Members of Dorset's Police and Crime Panel signed off the decision at a confirmation hearing on Thursday.

Chief Constable Vaughan, who received a Queen's Police Medal in last month's New Year's Honours, had initially been given the role on a temporary basis ahead of the now defunct merger with Devon and Cornwall Police.

He was interviewed and proposed to the panel by police and crime commissioner Martyn Underhill.

"I am delighted with the decision to appoint James Vaughan as the permanent Chief Constable of Dorset and I would like to congratulate him," said Mr Underhill.

“He has shown excellent leadership skills over the last nine months and I am sure James will continue to perform an outstanding role leading the Force as we face the challenges that the next few years have in store.”

Chief Constable Vaughan joined Dorset Police as Assistant Chief Constable in 2012 and after being promoted to Deputy Chief Constable in 2013, led on strategic change, performance, professional standards, people and community focus, and media and communication.

He also led various regional programmes, including the forensic service collaboration and the strategic alliance with Devon and Cornwall Police.

The formal proposed merger with Devon and Cornwall was scrapped in October last year, with work towards the move still costing both forces £250,000.