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Police and Crime Commissioners elected after poor turnout at polls

By Stour & Avon Magazine  |  Posted: November 23, 2012

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill (centre) with Borough of Poole chief executive John McBride (right) and returning officer for Dorset Paul Morris.

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THE people tasked with providing effective policing across Dorset and Hampshire were elected after a poor turnout at the polls last Thursday.

Martyn Underhill (Independent) is the first Police Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Dorset. He was sworn in at a ceremony in Poole on Monday and started his new role on Thursday.

A total of 98,679 votes were cast in Dorset, giving an overall turnout of 16.77 per cent. After two stages of voting, which saw voters' second choice taken into account because nobody secured 50 per cent of the vote, Mr Underhill was victorious with 51, 930 votes to Conservative candidates Nick King's 34,451.

Mr Underhill was a Detective Chief Inspector with Sussex Police until he retired in 2009. He was second in charge of the Sarah Payne case and went on to be an advisor on the Soham case of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. He was also a review officer on the abductions of Millie Dowler in Surrey and Danielle Jones in Essex.

As PCC for Dorset, Mr Underhill says his top priorities are to keep politics out of policing and to "make a difference to the victims of crime".

Simon Hayes (Independent) was elected as PCC for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. A total of 211,886 votes were cast, amounting to a turnout of just 14.6 per cent.

Mr Hayes received 80,669 votes after the second stage, comfortably ahead of Conservative candidate Michael Mates, who received 65,804 votes.

Mr Hayes is the chairman of Crimestoppers Hampshire and Isle of Wight and a past chairman of Hampshire Police Authority. He was previously a Conservative district and county councillor and was leader of New Forest District Council.

He aims to have sufficient numbers of police and community support officers so "criminals will know they will get caught", to tackle anti-social behaviour and to crackdown on violence, burglary and theft.

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