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Police boss poll could be record low turnout

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 28, 2012

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Elections for US-style police and crime commissioners risk embarrassment by generating the "lowest turnout in British history", candidates have warned Home Secretary Theresa May.

In an open letter 50 days before polling day, Labour, independents and former Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick warned of a lack of public awareness and the November polling date.

Brian Greenslade, independent candidate for Devon and Cornwall, and Sue Mountstevens, also an independent standing in Avon and Somerset, are among the signatories.

The letter, organised by the Electoral Reform Society, calls for the Electoral Commission to write to every household telling them about the elections. It also urges the Government to make sure that broadcasts promoting the elections take place and to pledge that the election cycle will not again be held in winter.

Mr Greenslade, also Lib Dem leader of North Devon Council, said: "The upcoming elections are heading for the Guinness Book of Records for the lowest turnout for a national election.

"If the flawed system introduced by the Government is as important as it claims then they should accord them the same support as for a parliamentary elections. This would help provide a level playing field for non-party candidates and ensure people are fairly informed.

"This is especially important in Cornwall, Devon and the Isles of Scilly, where many people don't have access to the internet."

Mr Greenslade opted not to stand as a Lib Dem, arguing that policing should not be politicised.

Police and crime commissioners are due to take over from local police authorities in a bid to provide an accountable figurehead.

Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: "If the Home Secretary is serious about people having a say, she needs to listen to the warnings coming from all sides and take action now."

Earlier this week, Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne admitted a 20% turnout would not be good.

Mr Browne, Lib Dem MP for Taunton Deane, said police commissioners would be "the George Washingtons" of the job, given that – like the first president of the United States – they would have no predecessors in the job.

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  • Mustafachat  |  September 29 2012, 12:31PM

    No one ever bothers about what the public want, therefore you get very often what you don't want. What the hell is it anyway. Not seen a police person for months are they still about.

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  • Mo777  |  September 29 2012, 11:38AM

    Who knew?

  • kippax21  |  September 29 2012, 12:53AM

    Thats all we need, a corrupt politician running a corrupt Police force !!!!

    |   -2
  • Stork  |  September 28 2012, 3:12PM

    Having a politician as a police Commissioner will be a mistake. The politician Police Commission will just toe the Party Line to satisfy the politicians, and not the general public as a whole. A big mistake letting this oportunity being seized by politicians.

    |   15
  • Norman_B  |  September 28 2012, 12:46PM

    Having an elected Mayor does not give give me a lot of hope for this post. This post is not suited to a political post kind of election. I feel sorry for our hard working police having a layperson in charge. I will not vote.

    |   17