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  1. Four candidates up for election this time round
  2. Voters go to the polls on Thursday 5 May
  3. Updates from Monday 18 April 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Thanks for following our PCC debate coverage

That's all from the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner debate this morning.

You'll can already listen again on the BBC Radio Solent's iPlayer page.

Join us online on 6 May for full coverage of the results as they come in.  

Could you live on a £10,000 salary as PCC?

The current Dorset PCC earns an annual salary of £70,000 - but the candidates are asked would they do it for a lot less?

Andrew Graham (Conservative) says: "I probably wouldn't do it for £10,000 but I might do it for less than £70,000."

Patrick Canavan (Labour) adds: "I personally would do the job for £10,000 because I think it's important to retain the issue of public service."

Will EU Referendum decision affect policing?

Andrew Graham (Conservative) says: "The referendum should have no effect on the way policing is done. National government will deal with policing issues."

Lester Taylor (UKIP) adds: "I agree... the nitty gritty of policing in Dorset won't be affected but we will get £55m a day if we exit."

Patrick Canavan (Labour) says: "We are less safe if we exit, but that's just my view. Issue is about resources and that's about the government resourcing police properly."

Martyn Underhill (Independent) says: "Our weakest link is the eastern border of Europe. I believe that we should leave Europe."

Should PCCs be party political?

Andrew Graham (Conservative) says: "It is a political post, it spends public money.

"One needs to be independent in lobbying government and some Conservative PCCs have been militant.

"With eight Conservative MPs in Dorset, that is a useful sounding board." 

PCC debate - they think it's all over...

That's the end of the live debate on Radio Solent but we're continuing our coverage as we look at some of the points in more detail.

UKIP candidate: Decisions I make are what I want

Lester Taylor (UKIP) says: "I believe in the UK and its independence, part of that is having a strong police force.

"We don't have a party whip system so the decisions I make are what I want.

"But when I call for government funding I can pull on the power of the party that gave you the referendum."

Would you do the job for £10,000?

A caller asked whether the Dorset candidates would do the job of PCC for £10,000? 

Martyn Underhill is paid £70,000 per year. 

Three of them wouldn't and one would, but all agree that hard work needs to be remunerated. 

Police officers

'I don't think there should be a police and crime commissioner'

Political reporter Tristan Pascoe asked people in Dorset what they thought about PCCs...

...and one man said the role should be scrapped to save money.

'I'm looking to increase police numbers'

Martyn Underhill (Independent) says: "I've steered police through the largest cuts in the history of policing but those cuts have now stopped. I'm looking to increase numbers in my next term.

"Most threats are cyber threats or vulnerable people being targeted in their homes, and that means police officers being detectives rather than officers on the streets."

Police numbers 'struggling to keep up'

Lester Taylor (UKIP) says: "The number of police officers has fallen since 2010.

"Since then central funding has dropped by 22% and number of police officers dropped by 13%.

"At the same time, population is increasing. To keep police at same level next year would take an extra 17-18 police officers for each force."

PCCs 'could have more power'

Home Secretary Theresa May said she is considering giving PCCs more power, including integration with fire services and the setting up of free schools. 

She said the schools could be for "troubled children". 

Theresa May

Are there enough bobbies on the beat?

On the number of police officers and visible policing is proving a hot topic.

Patrick Canavan (Labour) says: "The government is betraying the public by cutting funding.

"Police will be expected to do more with less. We have to change that by political action in Westminster."

Andrew Graham (Conservative) adds: "There is much thinking to be done about policing in the future e.g. collaboration, working closer with local government and the police should play much more a part of  community life."

PCC cost a 'waste of public money'?

One caller has labeled PCCs a "waste of public money" - is the cost of police and crime commissioners justified?

Andrew Graham (Conservative) says: "The fact was there was a local police authority beforehand but it wasn't transparent."

Martyn Underhill (Independent) says: "My office doesn't cost any more than the police authority did."

Lester Taylor (UKIP) says: "Holding the police to account will save money itself."

Patrick Canavan (Labour) says: "We're going to have this role for some time. We have to ensure that the public have their say."

'The government needs to put money into the border force'

Responding about the security of Dorset's coastline, Martyn Underhill (Independent) says: "I have engaged with the home secretary three times over this.

"We have lost three of five cutters (boats) and a plane.

"I keep warning the home secretary, when are you going to listen and put money back?"

'Central government needs to fund big issues'

A listener asks what the new PCC would do about patrolling the ports against the threat of illegal immigrants?

Lester Taylor (UKIP) says: "We need government to fund big issues so we can protect our borders.

 "The PCC would have to raise the police precept to unimaginable levels to fund it."

Dorset candidates

Candidates debate security of coastline

Is Dorset's coastline vulnerable?

Yes according to Patrick Canavan (Labour), who says: "The reason why we're vulnerable is cuts to UK Border Agency.

"We need staff to protect our borders. Need to put pressure on the government."


'We need to contact young people'

On on the 15% turnout in the first PCC election, Lester Taylor (UKIP) says: "That makes it very important to get out and make yourself known.

"Social media is very important, it's the young people we need to contact.

"It's already started in Dorset and we need to keep the pressure on."

'PCC has role to play in cyber crime'

On cyber crime, Andrew Graham (Conservative) says: "Everybody needs to think about the way that internet and technology has opened up the arc of vulnerability.

"When they're being scammed or children are being sexted, that's where the PCC has a role to play in what comes next.

"Traditional policing will remain but the cyber shadows are very difficult to police."

'Job is to challenge the chief constable'

Martyn Underhill (Independent) says: "You do challenge the police and that's what we're there for.

"You're there to be the voice of the public and we didn't have that before - there used to be 40-50 letters, my office gets tens of thousands now.

"We're really opening up policing to the public and that's what it's about."

Get in touch with your questions

What would you like to ask the Dorset PCC candidates?

Get in touch on email, Facebook and @BBCradiosolent on Twitter.

Sam Fraser and Joe Venable are primed to answer your calls on 0345 30 30 961 too.

Sam and Joe

PCC candidates make their introductions

The candidates are first asked to introduce themselves:

Martyn Underhill (Independent) - I don't think party politics should be involved in policing

Patrick Canavan (Labour) - I want to do this job fundamentally differently. There is a case for party political PCCs

Lester Taylor (UKIP) - In UKIP we have the power of the party behind us to push change through

Andrew Graham (Conservative) - I believe security and the rule of law is essential - I'm standing because I have conservative principles

PCC voting system explained...

Police and crime commissioner elections with three or more candidates use the supplementary vote system - that means you can vote for a first and second preference.

Ballot paper

If a candidate picks up more than 50% of the first preference votes they are declared the winner.

If not, all candidates apart from those in the top two positions are eliminated and the second preference on their ballot papers are added the top two votes to find a winner.

Dorset PCC candidates ready to go...

Here we go then - the four candidates are primed and ready.

BBC Radio Solent's Steve Harris will be posing the questions for the next hour and we'll be bringing you the best bits live.

PCC candidates

What does a police and crime commissioner do?

Being a police and crime commissioner involves:

  • Holding the chief constable to account for policing
  • Scrutinising, supporting and challenging the force's performance
  • Setting the force budget and policing precept element of the council tax
  • Commissioning services and awarding grants
  • Appointing and, where necessary, dismissing the chief constable

When is this year's PCC election?

You will be able to go the polls and vote for your Police and Crime Commissioner on 5 May.

Polling box

It is the same day as the local elections, although the only council in Dorset contesting seats will be at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

You can still register to vote in both elections here.

How much does the police and crime commissioner cost?

Hannah Bewley

BBC News Online

According to the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner website, the role cost £870,000 as a whole for the last financial year. 

Martyn Underhill is paid £70,000 and his chief executive £82,000.

In 2013 the commissioners came under fire as some were more transparent about their spending than others. 

The commissioners insist they are cheaper than the Police Authorities they replaced.

Sunday Politics live PCC debate

Peter Henley

Political editor, South of England

You can find out more about the role of police and crime commissioners in general from home affairs correspondent Emma Vardy on Sunday Politics.

Peter Henley also hosts a debate with the seven candidates for Hampshire.

Skip to 39 minutes in the video to watch.

Last PCC election 'absolutely dreadful'

Barry Loveday, a Portsmouth University criminology expert who helped come up with the idea of using direct elections in overseeing the police, said the PCCs' success had been "patchy". 

He said: "The turnout was absolutely dreadful. Everything they could do wrong, they did do wrong. 

Barry Loveday

"This time around it is going to be very, very different as it is synchronised with the local government elections. 

"The significant thing will be whether independent candidates survive this rise in turnout."

Get involved: What are your burning issues?

BBC Radio Solent

You can put your questions to the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner candidates.

They'll be live on BBC Radio Solent from 09:00.

Tweet us with your thoughts.

Meet the candidates: Lester Taylor (UKIP)

Former serviceman Lester Taylor has lived in Dorset for more than 10 years and was elected on to Shaftesbury Town Council in 2015.

Lester Taylor
Lester Taylor

He says unlike other parties UKIP does not insist that its politicians follow a party whip leaving him free to use his own initiative to act in the best interests of keeping the people of Dorset safe.

He promises to argue for increased government funding to finance "the jewel in the Crown of British policing" - more bobbies on the beat.

Meet the candidates: Andrew Graham (Conservative)

Former Army officer Andrew Graham says he has spent much of his working life dedicated to ensuring the security of our country.

Andrew Graham
Andrew Graham

He says having been burgled himself he understands "the sense of intrusion, hurt and insecurity crime leaves behind".

He says he has experience handling large budgets and would be able to find ways of shifting more of Dorset Police's £120m spend towards "the sharp end".

Meet the candidates: Patrick Canavan (Labour)

Former trade union regional officer Patrick Canavan was a governor of a further education college for several years and helped oversee the construction of two multimillion-pound buildings.

Patrick Canavan
Patrick Canavan

He believes people should get a direct say in how to spend police budgets "which are continually being reduced by this government".

He will oppose any suggestion of expanding the role to include the fire service and is also opposed to having a paid deputy.

Meet the candidates: Martyn Underhill (Independent)

Martyn Underhill is the current Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset and says he is standing again to "keep party politics out of policing".

Martyn Underhill
Martyn Underhill

He claims as a former police officer he understands policing better than most.

He pledges to put resources into cyber crime, those at risk from abuse and invest in the county's marine unit.

Turnout under the spotlight after historically low result in 2012

This year, one result will be closely scrutinised to see how it compares with 2012: voter turnout.

PM defends low PCC turnout

In the first PCC elections, turnout was historically low, leading the Electoral Commission to describe it as "a concern for everyone who cares about democracy".

With all ballots counted, turnout was about 14.9%, BBC research showed.

Do you remember the first PCC election?

It was in November 2012 when former police chief Martyn Underhill was elected as Dorset's first police and crime commissioner.

Martyn Underhill
Dorset Police

The independent candidate beat the Conservative's Nick King after second choice votes were counted as neither managed to get more than 50% of votes.

Mr Underhill picked up 51,930 votes - 60.1%, ahead of Mr King with 34,451 - 39.9%.

Labour's Rachel Rogers and Liberal Democrat Andy Canning were eliminated in the first round.

Welcome to our coverage of the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner debate

Good morning and welcome to our coverage as the candidates for this year's Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner go head-to-head 

We'll be bringing you the best bits from Radio Solent's live debate at 09:00 and looking at the big issues.

You can get in touch by tweeting us @bbcdorset