MEET THE CANDIDATES: Police and Crime Commissioner Election

voteDORSET residents will be going to the polls on Thursday, May 6 to elect a new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). 

The current PCC, independent Martyn Underhill who has held the position since it was first created in 2012, is not seeking re-election.

There are five candidates who have put themselves forward for the position and you can find out more about what the role entails and the candidates below.

Due to COVID regulations, there will also be some changes at polling stations, with more information available below.

What is a Police & Crime Commissioner?

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) ensure the policing needs of your community are met as effectively as possible and oversee how crime is tackled in your area.

Police and Crime Commissioners are elected to hold your police force to account for delivering the kind of policing you want to see. Their aim is to cut crime and to ensure your police force is effective.

PCCs bring a public voice to policing and they do this by:

  • Engaging with the public and victims of crime to help set police and crime plans
  • Ensuring the police force budget is spent where it matters most
  • Appointing, and where necessary, dismissing the chief constable PCCs also work with your council and other organisations to promote and enable joined up working on community safety and criminal justice.

The PCC does not ‘run’ the police or fire service. Chief Constables and Chief Fire Officers continue to be responsible for the day to day operations of the police and fire services respectively, but they are accountable to the public via the Commissioner.

PCCs are single, directly -elected individuals ensuring the public are protected, providing greater opportunities for collaboration and more effective scrutiny of public services.

They also ensure that there is an effective policing contribution to national partnership arrangements to protect the public from other cross-boundary threats.

PCCs are required to swear an oath when they are elected to office. The oath is designed so that they can publicly set out their commitment to: serve all of the people in their police force area; act with integrity and diligence; give a voice to the public; act with transparency so that they may be effectively held to account; and not interfere with the operational independence of police officers.


Patrick CanavanPatrick Canavan

“I AM a former trade union officer and spent much of my working life acting as an advocate on behalf of others.

“I am a law graduate, and currently the director of strategic development of a national governing body for a sports organisation.

“My previous roles have previously given me plenty of experience dealing with large organisations and bringing about effective change.

“The current PCC has been in post for some time and has indicated he is not seeking re-election. There will therefore be a change so we must ensure that Dorset Police continues to make progress and ensure we have a forward thinking and responsive force.”

Patrick has been a previous parliamentary candidate and was the Labour candidate at the previous Dorset PCC election in 2016.

In his manifesto, Patrick wants to see:

  • A greater focus on crime prevention by building resilient communities and ensuring a multi-agency approach to tackling anti-social behaviour and drug trafficking
  • Increased support for victims to increase confidence to report crimes and that cases of domestic violence, abuse and hate crime will be acted on and prosecution rates increased
  • To work with others in the criminal justice system to reduce re-offending and encouraging rehabilitation

Patrick added: “The key task for whoever is elected is to comply with the legal requirement to act as independently and in the best interests of the people of Dorset.”

Dan HardyDan Hardy

WE face continued challenges across Dorset, with greater demands for policing than ever before, which is why my 25 years of crime management knowledge and experience will be critical for the role.

I’m a Poole resident, a married family man and have a child being educated locally. I’m passionate about Dorset’s natural beauty, I enjoy many outdoor pursuits.

I served in the military for five years operating worldwide including two operational tours targeting terrorism, then gaining experience in the private security industry.

I spent 14 years with the Metropolitan Police, rising to the position of Acting Detective Inspector on the Specialist Crime Directorate.

I subsequently became head of risk at G4S and then the crime and security lead for Sainsbury’s.

Prior to my current role as managing director of a security company, I was the managing director of the National Business Crime Solution.

My policing experiences include neighbourhood, public order, firearms, covert and investigative skill sets.

I offer independence, an impressive track record in the policing and public sector landscape and expertise in business and finance.

Through more visible policing, reducing crime and the fear of crime, by better supporting victims and reducing reoffending, I will help to protect our incredible county and our communities, making Dorset the safest county in the UK.

Mark RobsonMark Robson
Liberal Democrats

I AM really proud to have been selected to fight the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner election. It would be a huge honour to represent the county and the communities that I care about.

As a resident and local campaigner, I know the county well. I understand the crime and policing concerns of our areas and the challenges faced by local people as the cuts to policing imposed by the Conservatives hit hard.

If elected, I become your voice in fighting the crime that blights your community. I will prioritise dealing with the underlying sources of crime, namely tackling domestic abuse in all its forms as well as supporting the victims of those crimes to feel safe again and help businesses to protect themselves from fraud and scams.

Dangerous driving affects hundreds of innocent people a year on Dorset’s roads so I will enable resources to help fight this forgotten lethal activity.

I’m confident that my career in the Royal Marines and Special Forces, specialising in Counter Terrorism, and my law degree, combined with my work as a councillor and driving instructor, provide me with the varied skills, knowledge and experience required to be your Police & Crime Commissioner.

I am a father to four wonderful children. I am an elected councillor serving on the adult health committee, l am also a member of an adoption panel and see first hand children who have suffered early years trauma.

These experiences together with seeing the good done by the organisations in place to help these individuals drives me to make them available to all those who are suffering.

Claire SeymourClaire Seymour
Green Party

CLAIRE works closely with the police, NHS, community mental health teams, local authorities, social services, probation, the fire service and other charities to keep communities safe.

Claire provides solutions and guidance to stakeholders and communities to resolve complex anti-social behaviour cases. She ensures safeguarding is a priority and delivers community safety strategies on a local and national scale.

Claire has a BSc Hons degree in Public Services which gave her the tools to deliver effective governance and management of a public service.

Claire also has a wealth of experience through her volunteering as a Police Special Constable, working for Victim Support, and being a Scrutiny Panel member for Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

She currently sits on the Hampshire Safeguarding Board, South West Domestic Abuse Forum and Dorset’s Domestic Abuse Forum.

Claire’s eight pledges are:

  • Tackling domestic abuse and sexual violence
  • Preventing crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Building inclusive communities
  • Supporting victims and witnesses
  • Protecting those within our community most at risk of harm
  • Engaging to ensure wellbeing and training of police officers, staff and volunteers is to the highest standard
  • Investing in new innovation opportunities for the prevention and detection of crime
  • Creating a sustainable police force to offer social, economic and environmental benefits

David SidwickDavid Sidwick

IN my senior executive career I have demonstrated award-winning leadership with strategic skills handling significant budgets. I also ran my own business and can deliver with tight resources.

I understand accountability and will work for you as your champion – not the police or any other interests.

My broad skills are ideal for the PCC role. My motivations are the same experiences as yours.

I saw anti-social behaviour being neglected, a shop lifting incident, the tragedy of drug addiction, an attempted fraud and poor 101 response, an unnecessary merger attempt and poor leadership from the current PCC. Your issues are my issues and we need change.

I have undertaken three years of preparation with other PCCs, a tutorial programme and rigorous assessment to prove myself. A two year full-time commitment to understand Dorset and Dorset Police across all communities and areas gives a platform for change.

I have a real passion and commitment to be Dorset PCC.

My vision is for Dorset to be the safest county in the UK. This job is about delivering for you – nothing else.

I will bring back prevention with robust visible community policing and put victims and communities first. I will be tough on violence, drugs, hidden harms and also tackle rural crime.

The mission is to cut crime and anti-social behaviour and together we will make our police crime fighters again.

What will be different about this year’s elections?

DORSET Council is putting in place precautions to ensure you can vote safely and in a COVID secure way on May 6. This means there will be some differences to the way you normally vote.

You may be asked to vote at a different polling station to ensure there is enough space for all electors to remain socially distanced. Double check your polling card to ensure you go to the correct polling station.

When you go to the polling station on May 6, you should wear a face mask and bring your own pen or pencil to make your vote, although there will be some available.

Hand sanitiser will be available at polling stations, which will also be ventilated and regularly cleaned throughout polling day.

Jonathan Mair, Corporate Director – Legal & Democratic at Dorset Council, said: “I want to give every reassurance that our polling stations will be safe places for voters to cast their vote on 6 May.

“All venues will be COVID-safe, with the measures applied that we’ve all become used to in our supermarkets and banks over the past year.

“Our staff have been working hard to achieve this and look forward to meeting local voters on May 6.”

You can find out more about placing your vote safely on the Dorset Council website

The Police and Crime Commissioner election on May 6 will coincide with a Lyme Regis Town Council by-election. To meet the candidates for town council, click here.

Woodmead Halls

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