A SLIMMED DOWN Dorset Police and Crime Panel will come into being later in the year, working across the whole county.

It will have five councillors from the new rural Dorset Council, five from the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch council and two independent members.

The two existing independent members, Ian McVie and the current chairman Mike Short, will continue to sit on the panel until their term of office expires in 2020 to ensure continuity. The other members will be appointed after the May 2 local council elections.

The new make up, down from 17 existing members, was agreed at a meeting of the shadow Dorset Council executive in Dorchester on Monday evening.

The meeting was told the new composition complied with Home Office guidelines and its make-up would be politically proportionate, which would only be known after the elections.

At a meeting of the Police and Crime Panel last year, which also approved the new make-up, Purbeck councillor Bill Pipe said the 5,5,2 configuration “offered a pretty good geographical spread,” and said he doubted that having additional members would make the panel any more representative.