DORSET’S Police and Crime Commissioner has criticised people defending Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars last month.

David Sidwick said he believes that the people condoning such violent acts helps to “normalise” them in our society.

The PCC, who has been in office since winning the election in May last year, said: “Since the incident at the Oscars ceremony, where Will Smith slapped Chris Rock, I’ve been thinking more and more about whether there is an ‘acceptable’ side to violence.

“We have seen many prominent people ‘taking sides’ and making comments over the last couple of weeks and I have thought long and hard about what I would have done in that situation, but my conclusion remains the same - that there is never a ‘reasonable excuse’ to throw the first punch or in Will Smiths’ case, what has to be considered as a carefully calculated ‘slap.

“I spend a considerable part of each working day, trying to stop people from becoming a ‘victim’ or a ‘survivor’ of a violent crime in one way or another.”

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He added: “By condoning such actions, you are helping to ‘normalise’ them in our society. Normalising violence leads to abhorrent ‘games’ like Huggy Wuggy, which not only scares innocent children but can lead them to try and ‘hug another child to death’ in the playground.

“Normalising violence leads to our future generations being ill-prepared to deal with difficult situations without resorting to violence and that’s not what I want for our children and grandchildren.

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Mr Sidwick said he has visited several charities and organisations since becoming PCC and has listened to many people who have ‘lived experiences’ of situations similar to the infamous slap at the Oscars last month.

The PCC believes we all need to stop and think about how we act or react to situations.

He said: “On reflection, all of us and particularly the role models in our society, whether that be a footballer, or a Hollywood A-lister need to stop and think before acting or reacting to a situation; we all need to think about how our actions may affect and influence others and most importantly, we all need to reject violent behaviour - saying sorry after the event just doesn’t cut it!”