Wishing our communities a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year

23 December 2019
Dorset Police’s Chief Constable and Police & Crime Commissioner are wishing Dorset communities a very merry Christmas.

Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “As 2019 draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. 

“As a force we have had another busy, but hugely successful, year and I would like to thank all of my officers and staff for their hard work and dedication keeping Dorset safe. The fact Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) rated us as a ‘good’ force in all 10 areas inspected is testament to the work they all do keeping our communities safe. I am very proud to be their Chief Constable. 

“I would also like to thank and pay tribute to our Police & Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill who has announced he will not be standing for re-election in May 2020. He has brought passion and immense commitment to the role over the last seven years and I wish him all the best for the future.

“This year we have dealt with a number of challenging and complex incidents that have led to successful court outcomes and seen some dangerous individuals taken off the streets of Dorset. Our successes wouldn’t have been possible without the excellent support we receive from you, so thank you!

“I appreciate that we can always do more and after year-on-year budget reductions, shrinking resources and growing demand, I am delighted to be welcoming the new officers joining us next year as part of the officer uplift scheme. We will use this investment to continue to drive forward with our shared ambition to provide an outstanding service to the most vulnerable people in our communities. 

“For those who are going out and celebrating over the festive period – please have fun, stay safe and look after each other.

“Finally, I would like to extend my personal thanks to all those officers and staff, as well those working for other emergency services, who will be on duty over the festive period. It is not lost on me the impact this has on them and their loved ones.”
 
Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “I want to wish everyone across Dorset a very happy and a safe Christmas. 

“Sadly, this will be my last Christmas with you as Police & Crime Commissioner, as you will have heard by now that I have made the difficult decision not to stand for a third term next May. 

“I’d like to thank the many excellent officers and staff within Dorset Police for all their hard work serving the public, not just over the last year but over the last seven years I have spent with the Force. These have not always been easy years, as I took over at a time when austerity was starting to bite across the country, but I have always been amazed by the commitment and dedication of our officers and staff. Clearly I’m not the only one who’s been impressed, as the Force has achieved 10 out of 10 ‘good’ ratings by the HMICFRS Inspectorate.

“I know many will be working tough shifts rather than sitting down to Christmas meals with their families, and I am indebted to them for their continued efforts.

“I also want to thank Dorset residents for their continued support. You don’t need me to tell you that the run-up to this Christmas has been unlike any we have lived through, but now the General Election has been resolved I hope we can move on and enter a period of stability after what have been a difficult few years for the country. 

“I have always represented Dorset as an independent PCC and you can rest assured that for the remaining months of my tenure I will work with the new Government and continue to fight for our county’s interests, particularly a fairer funding settlement for Dorset Police.

“I’m hoping the New Year will bring some excellent opportunities for the Force and indeed for whoever succeeds me as PCC. I’m very encouraged by the promises of extra police officers, but we need to make sure this recruitment can be properly funded. 

“That’s why I’ve asked residents for an additional £1.25 a month in the council tax precept, which will enable the Force to deliver a balanced budget and recruit an extra 50 officers next year. 

“Asking for more money is something I never like to do, and I’m in the strange position of having to so without knowing the details of next year’s funding settlement from central Government, as this has been delayed due to the General Election. Nevertheless, I know residents will expect me to be prudent with finances so I’m basing this on what is required now, rather than having to rush this through at a later date. 

“If you have a free couple of minutes over the Christmas period, please visit my survey at www.dorsetpoliceprecept.com to find out more and let me know what you think.

“Spend time with family and friends this Christmas, enjoy yourselves, but please – if you are going out to parties – don’t drink and drive. I look forward to continuing to work with you in the New Year and helping ensure we have the best possible police force to serve the people of our county.”
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