POLICE and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill wants a sponsor to help fund Dorset Police in the absence of government money.

In his blog for this week, Mr Underhill says although he is lobbying the government to get extra funds for Dorset, he feels sponsorship agreements could help bridge the funding gap.

His blog is in full below.

Dear All, This week, I want to focus on sponsorship.

The police family in Dorset is living in austere times with a shrinking budget and workforce. Despite those challenges, we are maintaining an efficient and effective service for Dorset.

However, our funding needs to be readdressed and I continue to lobby the government for extra funds. We are the lowest funded force and have seen the worst cuts. This is wrong, and I will continue to fight this.

At a crime reduction event on Friday, I was pleased to have the opportunity to talk to a possible sponsor. We discussed the possibility of a sponsorship arrangement involving all five PCCs in the South West region and I can tell you that I have already received expressions of interest from other PCCs.

I have therefore asked for this to be included on the agenda for discussion at the next regional PCCs and Chief Constables meeting.

I can see huge potential benefit to forming appropriate sponsorship relationships with reputable organisations. They will give Dorset Police greater funding to maintain a high quality service. They will also ensure that we have the funds to help us to combat crime and provide reassurance to communities.

I need to be clear that we are looking for longer term business support, rather than one-off sponsorships. This will help us to plan and sustain projects that might otherwise not have been possible due to the ongoing financial constraints.

I also need to stress, that neither myself as Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, nor the Force, will ever allow operational functions to become dependent on, or to be influenced by, sponsorship agreements.

It will never compromise the Chief Constable’s authority or my commissioning powers. Sponsorship is there to provide an opportunity for Dorset Police and myself to work in partnership with communities towards a common goal.

This is an important agenda and I am looking forward to discussing the opportunities with other PCCs and Chief Constables at our next regional meeting on the 29th May.

Kind Regards, Martyn Clive Chamberlain, Chairman of Dorset Police Federation, said: “Martyn Underhill rightly recognises that Dorset Police is the lowest funded force and has seen the worst cuts. We fully support his efforts to lobby government over this situation which has for too long remained disproportionately unfair to communities in Dorset. I would hope that all Dorset Members’ of Parliament will join with the Police and Crime Commissioner in fighting for fairer funding for Dorset Police.

"The issue of sponsorship is not new to the police service and any such arrangements are subject to rigorous parameters. Sponsorship is subject to a 1% limit of the force's total annual income and does not make any of the statutory functions of the force dependent on this funding nor does it allow for any companies to interfere with the duties of the police.”