UK & World News
Electoral Commission To Probe Police Vote
The Electoral Commission will investigate the first police commissioner elections after the polls were marred by a record-low turnout.
The watchdog's chair Jenny Watson said the dismal turnout was "a concern for everyone who cares about democracy" and said a "thorough review" would report its findings to Parliament early next year.
Although only one in seven went to the ballot box, David Cameron and Conservative ministers defended the flagship policing reform, denying the role lacked a popular mandate.
Mr Cameron - who faced criticism from electoral reform campaigners, opposition parties and one of his own backbenchers - argued public interest would rise once the commissioners began work.
Conservatives won 16 commissioner posts, Labour 13 and Independents 12 in the elections across England and Wales.
The highest-profile casualty was Labour former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott, who lost out to his Tory rival in Humberside.
Lord Prescott led after the first round of votes but when second preference votes were totted up in Bridlington the 74-year-old was overtaken by Tory local businessman and councillor Matthew Grove.
Lord Prescott said: "Don't let it take away from the fact that I have reduced a 30,000 Tory majority in this area to 2,000."
In some cities barely more than 10% voted - with one polling station in Newport, Gwent seeing no-one attend all day.
There were also reported to be very high numbers of spoiled ballots among those who did turn out.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said spending up to £100m on the largely-ignored elections had been "bad for policing, bad for democracy and bad for taxpayers".
And Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron warned that commissioners - who will have powers to set force priorities and budgets as well as to hire and fire chief constables - would struggle to claim a mandate.
Complaints have centred on the Government's alleged failure to give the public enough information about the new role and the candidates - coupled with the poll being held in November's dark and cold conditions.
Ms Watson said: "These were new elections taking place at an unfamiliar time of year, which is why we have made clear at every stage that it would be important to engage effectively with voters.
"The Government took a number of decisions about how to run these elections that we did not agree with."
Mr Grove, who beat Lord Prescott to become the new police commissioner, said: "The public didn't have a good understanding of this function, of this role.
"I believe that very much lies at the door of the national media who have almost run a campaign to encourage people to boycott it.
"Well my role for the next three-and-a-half years is to demonstrate that actually I can do a good job for the people of this area. I will serve them, I will make this area safer, I will reduce crime and I think we will see significantly higher turnouts next time round."
what do you think?
Brian E Gorton
I do not want politicians making a bigger mess of the police than they are now!! Its got nothing to do with the weather the month or lack of information. I DO NOT WANT THEM PERIOD.Are you listening Camaloon I DO NOT WANT THEM.
will this makle anby differnece? i dont think so
What a load of baloney! Waste of money in the first place and now they are going to spend even more money 'investigating' the low turnout! What is the matter with this government, get a grip and start sorting out the major issues, education, the economy, immigration,health service, etc, etc, etc!
Policing should have nothing to do with politics.
Why waste more money on an investigation, its simlpe, we are not interested ! With households across the country being crippled with extortionate fuel and energy bills we need government action on the things that are of real concern to the electorate not this rubbish.
Let the police police and leave politics to the idiots. what a waste of money
We always get this from politicians, particually this bunch. There;s a nationwide clamour for an EU referendum, but do get one? - No Virtually no-one wants these P&CCs and we get them anyway.
The Unions will be rubbing their hands at the low turn out. How can Calamity now say anything about Unions ballets not being legitimate when he is defending such a low turn out in this farce of an election.
I did not vote Why Because the option was 1 Labour Politician, 1 Conservative Politician, 1 Liberal Politician and an Ex Policemen I do not want local politician running my local Police nor do I want one of the Polices own 95% of local people did not want the candidate who won, he can not claim to represent the local community -he should not take up post
Not sure where you are, but at least you had the option. I'm in London and didnt, apparently we already have an elected politico looking after the police, Boris Johnson! Oh well, that says it all!
"Mr Grove, who beat Lord Prescott to become the new police commissioner, said: "The public didn't have a good understanding of this function, of this role" Mr Grove - we have a very good understanding - It was local politicians on instruction from high command trying to line their pockets at tax payers expense. We are sick of your type screwing everything up
why on earth is more public money being wasted on yet another useless inquiry.?
surely the money being wasted on another fat cat to head a useless inquiry could be used to better effect. ie.towards getting us out of this disastrous eu.
Politicians shouldn't be involved in policing police should be neutral
This government sure knows how to waste money on useless enquiries what they going to do knock on every bodies door and ask why the couldn't be bothered to vote
The gobsmiths are just following their Yank masters, they have Police Commissioners so we must have them.
I didn't vote because apart from the labour candidate in our area bothering to send some form of literature through our door none of the others bothered to. I don't agree with police Commissioners full stop, most if not all who put up for the position have no idea how the police service runs and operates or when and where it needs it's finances. The positions have been created to take the focus of the many failings of different police forces up and down the country away from Whitehall and put squarely in the new Commissioners laps, these people are the future scapegoats.
I knew the P&CC election was taking place, but quite deliberately didn't vote. Far fewer Politicians are the answer not more. We are over taxed and over Governed as it is and it is quite idiotic for anyone to be making a meal out of why we didn't take more of an interest. If the Government needs to do this, then clearly they don't understand just how annoying they are to their Electorate.
I see Orange quickly buried this article in the archives!
if the PCC's are to be paid over 100K and nobody wants them. then why can that 100k be used to pay for the additional coppers on the streets?