Do you know who your police and crime commissioner is?

Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore

Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore

First published in News

ALMOST 90 per cent of people cannot name their police and crime commissioner, according to a damning new survey.

The 41 new commissioners are paid up to £100,000 a year to head up the police force.

Among their powers is hiring and firing the chief constable, setting the budget (£200 million a year in West Mercia), deciding how much council tax each household should pay and making key decisions about policing strategy.

The commissioners were chosen during national elections in November, but turnout everywhere was low, including just 14 per cent across the West Mercia force area.

Now the Electoral Reform Society has produced a report claiming that the elections “failed both candidates and voters alike”.

The society says lessons need to be learned from the record-low turnout, and labels it “an exercise in how not to run an election”.

Their report says people were left in the dark about who they could vote for and that the winter timing of the poll discouraged participation.

In a survey, included in the report, 1,000 adults were asked to name their commissioner in random phone calls, but 89 per cent did not know the answer.

In West Mercia 134,750 people voted across Worcestershire, Telford and Wrekin, Herefordshire and Shropshire, resulting in independent candidate Bill Longmore becoming this region’s first elected police chief on a £75,000 salary.

Adrian Blackshaw, who stood as the Conservative candidate against Mr Longmore, said the election had been “badly handled”.

“The timing of the poll next time must not be in November,” he said.

“There is a timetable in place and enough time to make sure that doesn’t happen again, and I also think candidates paying £5,000 (deposit) makes it an expensive exercise.

“It was handled badly. People need to get together and improve it for next time.”

His criticism echoed the society’s report, which cited the “huge deposits, vast electoral districts and high campaign costs” as reasons to put potential candidates off.

It concludes that in 2016, the year of the next PCC elections, the poll should not be in the winter and that details on each candidate should be posted to voters.

Since being elected, Mr Longmore has alrady made some major decisions - include freezing West Mercia Police’s portion of the council tax bill, and launching a consultation over closing down or relocating up to 31 police bases.

He also wants to extend the powers of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) so they provide more assistance in fighting crime.

Comments (6)

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9:15am Thu 28 Feb 13

sugarlump says...

oooh - this should attract some interesting comments!
oooh - this should attract some interesting comments! sugarlump
  • Score: 0

9:17am Thu 28 Feb 13

Landy44 says...

Not only was the election poorly handled but the whole concept is a pointless increase in bureacracy at a time when we should be reducing the size of the state.
Not only was the election poorly handled but the whole concept is a pointless increase in bureacracy at a time when we should be reducing the size of the state. Landy44
  • Score: 0

11:20am Thu 28 Feb 13

More Tea Vicar says...

I actually favour localism, and in principle, this could have been a great idea. But it the poor handling by the Conservatives has damaged the 'brand'.

Making it difficult and expensive to become a candidate, not supporting the process properly, all contributed to voter resentment.

And the actual structure, allowing a bloke to just appoint his mate...ridiculous.

Same could have been achieved by electing a committee of unpaid representatives.
I actually favour localism, and in principle, this could have been a great idea. But it the poor handling by the Conservatives has damaged the 'brand'. Making it difficult and expensive to become a candidate, not supporting the process properly, all contributed to voter resentment. And the actual structure, allowing a bloke to just appoint his mate...ridiculous. Same could have been achieved by electing a committee of unpaid representatives. More Tea Vicar
  • Score: 0

11:54am Thu 28 Feb 13

spider666 says...

More to the point,does he know who he is and who he's there for ?
More to the point,does he know who he is and who he's there for ? spider666
  • Score: 0

7:09pm Thu 28 Feb 13

TDH123 says...

Longmore is known for all the wrong reasons! Cronyism, poor judgement and a lack of any panache or presence.
The 86% of us who did not vote so wish that we had done so now!!
Longmore is known for all the wrong reasons! Cronyism, poor judgement and a lack of any panache or presence. The 86% of us who did not vote so wish that we had done so now!! TDH123
  • Score: 0

8:59pm Thu 28 Feb 13

cressylock says...

Do we care if we don't know?

I have no idea what he's supposed to do, except be paid loads of money to hire his mate...
Do we care if we don't know? I have no idea what he's supposed to do, except be paid loads of money to hire his mate... cressylock
  • Score: 0

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