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Vote for police chief 'is flawed'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 28, 2012

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London Editor

A senior Westcountry politician has warned the election turnout for the first wave of US-style police commissioners could be so low that it makes the Guinness Book of Records.

Brian Greenslade, who is standing as an independent candidate in Devon and Cornwall, and is a former Devon County Council leader, is among a raft of would-be police chiefs to raise concerns over the lack of public awareness of the 41 ballots. They are just 50 days away.

Independents, Labour figures and one-time Liberal Democrat London mayor hopeful Brian Paddick have signed a letter of warning to Home Secretary Theresa May.

Lib Dem North Devon Council leader Mr Greenslade, who opted not to stand for his party as he claimed policing should not be politicised, 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."

Police and crime commissioners, including one for Devon and Cornwall and another in Avon and Somerset, will replace local police authorities in a bid to provide an accountable figurehead.

At the Lib Dem conference in Brighton this week, Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne was asked whether 20% would be a good turnout.

Mr Browne, MP for Taunton Deane, said: "I think that is a question to which the answer is no. I want the turnout to be as high as possible."

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