SOME FACTS ABOUT MARTYN AND HIS VIEWS
Martyn Underhill was a Detective Chief Inspector in Sussex Police, who retired in 2009. He was second in charge of the Sarah Payne case, and went onto to be an adviser on the Soham case of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. He was also a review officer on the abductions of Millie Dowler in Surrey and Danielle Jones in Essex.
Martyn is an acknowledged expert on child abduction, and has recently worked with the media in relation to the April Jones case in Machynlleth,Wales.
The April Jones case saw the first ever national launch of Child Rescue Alert, a system introduced by Martyn into Sussex Police in 2002. The system is based on the American system, called Amber Alert. The scheme was later adopted by every Force in England and Wales in 2006.
Martyn was commended by the Sussex Police Authority for his work on the Sarah Payne case, the first time the Police Authority had issued such a commendation.
Martyn undertook two postings as Detective Chief Inspector, before becoming the Project Manager for the introduction of PIP (The Professionalism of Investigations) to Sussex Police. He then joined the training team for Sussex Police, during which time Martyn qualified as a police trainer, NVQ assessor and verifier.
On retirement in 2009 he moved to Dorset.
In retirement, Martyn went on to campaign for safeguarding issues, including Sarah’s Law, which was introduced into Dorset in 2010.
Martyn is very involved with the community, and is a Lay Member on the Bournemouth and Poole Local Safeguarding Children’s Board, where he chairs the Communications Group. He also sits as a Panel member for Education Appeals in Poole and Bournemouth.
Martyn is an operational advisor to the national charity Missing People.
He is also a trustee to two Dorset charities, Bourne Free and Turn Your Back (TYB UK) a new local charity looking to raise awareness of knife crime following the death by stabbing of Nicholas Ormerod in 2010.
In relation to other charities, he is also a volunteer for Circles UK (South West) which supervises high risk sex offenders, and for Hope Housing. Martyn is also Vice President of Parkstone Rotary Club.
Martyn is a visiting lecturer at Bournemouth University for the School of Applied Sciences, and he also lectures at Portsmouth University. He teaches part time at Wessex Academy, a local language school. Martyn has a Masters Degree and Diploma in Criminology, and is a qualified Project and Programme Manager.
Martyn is an ex foster parent, having fostered numerous children in Sussex.
Martyn has a son and grandchildren from a previous marriage, and now lives in Poole with his partner Debs, and step daughter Jessica. He loves walking his dogs, fishing, gardening, and reading. He regularly goes to his local gym.
Martyn also belongs to Bournemouth Little Theatre (BLT) and when he is free, helps build the sets. He has also “walked the boards” many times, his last time on stage was with BLT in 2011 with his step daughter Jess in Accrington Pals.
SOME FACTS ABOUT MARTYN AND HIS VIEWS
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST PRIORITY?
To ensure that we have fewer victims, and that those victims we do have, are given an empathetic, expeditious, understanding and professional journey. Victims of crime are a huge priority for me. We must get better than we already are at understanding their needs, and making sure their needs are met.
WHAT IS YOUR VIEW OF THE SPECIAL CONSTABULARY?
A fantastic resource that is not used anywhere near enough in Dorset. I recently wrote the training package for the Leicestershire Police Special Constabulary. There are literally hundreds of people in Dorset who would love to help their police, especially in such difficult restraining times. The ethos and reputation of the Special Constabulary needs re-establishing. Special Constables can help replace the void left by cuts, and they don’t all have to want to be full time police officers! Their recruitment, training, status and deployment would change drastically if I became Dorset PCC.
I will also explore, over my four year term, how to recognise the role of a Special Constable financially, as they are now doing in London.
SHOULD POLICE OFFICERS BE ALLOWED TO STRIKE?
Never. I totally disagree with any of the emergency services being allowed to strike. If it comes to it, the Police Federation and I may disagree over this, but I will never be persuaded to condone a strike.
And that’s why police officers deserve different pay and conditions, just like our armed forces.
WHAT IS YOUR VIEW OF THE POLICE FEDERATION?
I admire the Police Federation locally and nationally. A tireless campaigner for ordinary bobbies. 25 years ago, I was so impressed I became a Federation Representative for 3 years, making sure others got the help they needed. They are a dignified and vocal voice fighting injustices in the police service.
I was an observer at the 2009 and 2012 Police Federation Conference in Bournemouth. I already have a good working relationship with Dorset Police Federation, and I look forward to a fruitful and constructive relationship with the Dorset Police Federation as the Dorset PCC.
REHABILITATION OR RETRIBRUTION?
They both have a place in our society, I would like to see community payback, and restorative justice explored more. I also believe that involving trained volunteers in mentoring/supervising medium risk prolific offenders is a way forward in Dorset. Being a targeted offender is a lonely place. With no job, housing or self esteem, small wonder they continue their criminal journey. They need a support network to re-establish their place in society, a support network that can also notify the Police and Probation Service if they stray from the path. enabling quicker pick up, quicker recall or punishment.
ARE YOU RELIGIOUS?
Yes, I am religious, I am Church of England, but love Methodist churches as well.
DO YOU AGREE WITH ARMED POLICE?
Sadly, we have no choice than to arm some police officers. My personal choice was always not to carry one, even at the cost of losing new jobs or sideways moves. I withdrew from a secondment to the PSNI because I found out I would have to carry a gun. I have the greatest admiration for armed officers. They may have to make the ultimate choice. I couldn’t do that.
WHAT WILL YOUR LEGACY BE?
I would love my legacy to be someone saying ”For someone who was a grockle, he made a difference”. Especially a difference to the victims of crime.
As PCC, I would have four years to join up the dots, four years to make the victims journey in Dorset a better experience.