Martyn Underhill WON'T stand in next PCC elections

Martyn Underhill WON'T stand in next PCC elections

Published by The Wessex FM News Team at 1:01pm 18th December 2019. (Updated at 1:25pm 18th December 2019)

The Police and Crime Commissioner's revealed he won't be standing in the PCC elections in May.

Martyn Underhill says he's moving on to pastures new.

He's held the position for the past 8 years but the Police and Crime Commissioner isn't entering himself as a candidate in May's election.

In an open letter to the public Mr Underhill writes about what he's described as a difficult decision:

"Why am I standing down? Well, after 40 years of public service, I now feel that a change of direction is called for in my life. After two terms as the PCC for Dorset I am moving on to pastures new.

"I am keen to identify new challenges and new opportunities at a local and national level, and to build on my local charity work, and my role as a Lay Canon for the Salisbury Diocese.

"There is no doubt about it. My seven years working with Dorset Police has been eventful. I feel I can leave with my head held high. I was the first ever PCC for Dorset, and I took up the role at a critical time for policing. I am proud I kept my independence and was able to work across political parties for the good of the people of Dorset."

"Sadly, I also took over the reins at the start of austerity and I oversaw the Force into sustained cuts. I am pleased to now be leading them back out again with the Chief Constable, James Vaughan. 

"In 2012, the Force’s youngest police officer was 25 years old, as the Force had not recruited since 2008. Austerity was bedding in. PCSO numbers were under threat, as were police officer numbers. The Marine Section was being disbanded. The Victims Bureau, Cadet Scheme, Rural Crime and Drone Teams were all still in the ether, as was the Strategic Alliance (with Devon & Cornwall Police), Cyber Dogs and Community Speed Watch. Mental Health dominated the policing landscape. 

"Seven years later, with reduced numbers, increased workload, and the Force well on its way to achieving ‘outstanding’ in policing vulnerability, the Force has achieved 10 out of 10 ‘good’ ratings from the HMICFRS Inspectorate. As austerity comes to an end, mental health demand is still there but has changed in nature."

Martyn Underhill

He ends the letter by saying that it's not yet known what's in store for policing under the new Government, but that he is leaving Dorset "as a good organisation that punches above its weight."

Mr Underhill has six months of office remaining.

He has thanked his team and the public for their support of him and of the Force.