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Police commissioner quizzed over future

By Western Gazette - Crewkerne  |  Posted: December 12, 2013

POLICE FORUM:   Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill (centre) with PCSOs, members of the public and students from North Dorset Technical College who attended the commissioner's forum at Gillingham Town Hall, which is in the same building as the police station.

POLICE FORUM: Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill (centre) with PCSOs, members of the public and students from North Dorset Technical College who attended the commissioner's forum at Gillingham Town Hall, which is in the same building as the police station.

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DORSET Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill paid a visit to Gillingham last week following a public consultation on the future provision of police enquiry desks across the county.

During the public forum residents raised concerns over opening hours and whether police resources would be reduced.

The commissioner gave his reassurance that policing priorities remain committed to protecting the frontline and maintaining a visible police presence in every town in Dorset.

Town councillor Roger Monksommers who attended the forum revealed that the Town Hall was so full of people keen to hear what the commissioner had to say that more chairs had to be brought in.

He said: "One of the key points that was raised by members of the public was that the PCSOs were doing a really good job because they were seen out and about in the town.

"There was a plea not to steal them away to cover paper work from the officers and to keep them on the streets, even though the force is faced with budget cuts.

"The matter of the potential closure of the enquiry desk was also brought up, but I think the general feeling is that the 101 number is gaining in credibility as people get used to it."

The forum was also attended by several pupils from North Dorset Technical College.

Transition to work course manager Michelle Watling said that the forum had been very beneficial to the students who were studying a unit on young people and the law.

She said: "It was a really good opportunity for the students to gain an understanding of the law and see the police in a positive light within the community.

"The students really appreciated being included as part of the process, quite often there's no forum for youngsters to put their views across, but Mr Underhill made time to take their views on board."

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