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Following a year in which Dorset Police has been on the front line of dealing with COVID-19, I am asking for £1.25 a month to enable the Force to provide an enhanced service and continue recruiting new officers.

If approved, this would mean Dorset’s precept – the element of the council tax bill that funds policing – going up by £15 a year for those living in an average Band D property.

The country is in the middle of an ongoing crisis – perhaps one of the biggest challenges since the Second World War – and I have to be realistic about the state of the national finances.

The recent Government Spending Review prioritised the fight against COVID-19 and so Police and Crime Commissioners have been asked to raise their precept levels to help forces balance their budgets.

In the circumstances, I welcome the funding package given to Dorset Police which provides some flexibility and will enable the Force to continue recruiting more officers over the next year, but I recognise this continues to place the burden on local taxpayers. I have agonised over this decision, as I know that many people will be worried about their livelihoods, and so it is with a heavy heart that I once again ask families to contribute more to their police force.

An additional £1.25 a month will allow the Force to meet the unavoidable costs of providing an enhanced service in the face of a global health emergency and allow the further recruitment of additional officers.

Dorset Police is now predicting they will recruit 64 new officers by the end of March – more than had been planned – as part of the Government’s three-year ‘uplift’ programme, with plans to recruit further new officers in 2021/22.

Police forces have faced considerable budgetary pressures in recent years with the need to manage more demand, real-terms cuts to funding and a number of nationally imposed cost increases

In order to ensure Dorset Police maintains and enhances its current service, invests in recruiting and training extra officers, and continue to protects the county’s residents from emerging risks, I am asking for an additional £1.25 a month.

Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey – your opinion is very much valued.

Martyn Underhill
Police & Crime Commissioner