DORSET residents will go to the polls on Thursday, May 2 to elect a police and crime commissioner.

Currently held by David Sidwick, the PCC's aim is to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their police force area – here being Dorset Police. 

The role is elected by the public to hold chief constables and the police force to account on their behalf. 

PCCs are elected using the First Past the Post system. Residents vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most votes becomes PCC.

We asked all four candidates - David Sidwick, David Stokes, Marianne Storey and Howard Legg - to pitch to you why they should have your vote.

Here is what they said:

David Sidwick - Conservative

"I spent three years researching as a candidate for two reasons – to ensure I could be a crime fighting PCC and to get your views so I could act on them.

"This job is about delivering for you – nothing else. I made promises to you and these became the Police and Crime Plan which changed the operational vision of Dorset Police and the culture back to fighting crime.

"The plan is working with Dorset going from 10th to seventh safest place in the country. Anti-social behaviour, burglary, violent crime, rural crime are all significantly reduced. I am being tough on drugs. This all is meaningless until everybody feels this change everywhere and visible change is what I will continue to deliver.

"This isn’t a job to me – it’s a vocation. I have no desire to be any sort of politician other than a PCC. This election is about delivery for you and Dorset.

"The mission is to cut crime and anti-social behaviour - re-elect David Sidwick to continue to make our police crime fighters and make Dorset the safest county."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: David SidwickDavid Sidwick (Image: Daily Echo)

David Stokes - Labour

"Over the past 12 months my team and I have spoken to thousands of people on the doorstep across Dorset.  Time and again crime has been a major concern. Whether it is anti-social-behaviour, knife crime, domestic violence, rampant shop lifting or violence towards retail staff, Dorset certainly doesn’t feel like a safe place to live anymore. 

"As your police and crime commissioner, I would work to see more police on the street. More neighbourhood and community policing working alongside specialist units to concentrate on violence against women and girls, drug dealing and serious violent crime. 

"Shockingly, across the country 90 per cent of crimes now go unsolved.  We need to restore confidence in the criminal justice system, to raise standards and get more crimes solved.

"We also face increasing threats from cybercrime, fraud and ingenious scams that will affect more and more people. We need to take these new and emerging crimes seriously.  

"The police and crime commissioner must focus on all the challenges that face the whole community. Co-operation, community and partnership work are things that come naturally to those of us in the Labour and Co-operative Party."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: David StokesDavid Stokes (Image: Daily Echo)

Marianne Storey - independent

"As an independent candidate, I am not bound by any party's political agenda. This means that my sole focus is serving the needs of our community. With a clear vision rooted in our people's genuine needs, I am committed to working tirelessly to deliver real change for the people of Dorset.

"My priorities are clear and direct. I will increase police visibility, ensure safety across towns and rural communities, and increase accountability and transparency in the police force. I will prioritise the safety of women and girls and create an environment where they can trust the police again. I will also develop support for our young people by addressing the root causes of youth crime and providing pathways away from antisocial behaviour, drugs, and violence.

"Change doesn't come from party politics. It comes from a fundamental understanding of the issues on the ground and relentless pursuit of what's right for our community.

"With a hands-on approach and a deep understanding of our community's unique challenges, I will foster collaboration, transparency, and accountability within our police force.

"In this critical election, your vote for me is a vote for real change, honest leadership, and a safer Dorset."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Marianne StoreyMarianne Storey (Image: Daily Echo)

Howard Legg - Liberal Democrat

"I have the breadth of experience to be Dorset’s next police and crime commissioner. My background spans engineering, finance, education, and public service, I will bring my experience to Dorset Police.

"Every crime matters - every victim matters. Dorset Police are stretched thin. It’s time for our police to demonstrate that every crime matters. I will fight to ensure every police officer and PCSO will be trained to a good standard in investigation, so that every reported crime is taken seriously.

"Prevention is better than crime. Police record crimes that have been reported or detected, but not those that are prevented. As your police and crime commissioner I will prioritise crime prevention in Dorset by ensuring every police officer and PCSO is trained to a good standard of crime prevention.

"Stronger community policing. Liberal Democrats believe that community is at the heart of everything we do. As your police and crime commissioner, I will ensure every police officer and PCSO is trained to a good standard in public contact.

"Across Dorset and Bournemouth, elections are between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. On Thursday 2 May, back the Liberal Democrat team who is working hard for you all year round."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Howard LeggHoward Legg (Image: Daily Echo)

What happens on election day?

To vote, residents must be registered by Tuesday, April 16.

BCP Council's polling stations will be open on May 2 despite it not being a local council election in the conurbation - bar a by-election in Canford Cliffs.

Residents in the Dorset Council area will be able to vote for a PCC along with a vote for their chosen councillor.

When will we know who is elected?

Although voting is on Thursday, May 2, the count will take place on Saturday, May 4 with the results expected to be read out mid-afternoon.