A ROW has erupted over the way a decision to increase the police share of the council tax was handled.

Members of the Dorset Police and Crime Panel have been venting their frustrations after the 1.96 per cent rise in the precept proposed by Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill was approved, despite the majority of the panel voting against it.

Although nine members opposed the rise and only seven voted in favour, the rise was approved because two thirds of the panel had to vote against it in order to veto the move.

Panel member David Smith, a Bournemouth councillor, has written to local MPs asking for a change in the law.

He said: “The majority of the committee didn’t support him but it was acceptable in legal terms. We live in a democratic society and the majority should rule.”

Coun Smith said he had doubts whether serving on the Police and Crime Panel was worthwhile.

He added: “We’re fairly toothless as far as I can see. If we can’t influence something like this, it makes you wonder whether it’s worth doing.”

However, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council member Geoff Petherick, said that while he voted against the proposals because he disagreed the rise was necessary, he had accepted that the voting rules were in place and the veto had not been achieved.

He said: “It wasn’t something I necessarily agreed with but at the end of the day that’s the way the rules are put together so one accepts it.”