To The Right Honourable Theresa May MP
November’s Police and Crime Commissioner elections threaten to result in the lowest turnout in British history. With 50 days left to polls opening we urge you to rethink the way these elections are being run and to take some common sense steps to improve turnout.
The Home Office White Paper ‘Policing in the 21st Century: Reconnecting police and the people’, tells us that the purpose of Police and Crime Commissioners is “to empower the public – increasing local accountability and giving the public a direct say on how their streets are policed.”
Police and Crime Commissioners want the chance to speak for local people. This will be impossible with rock bottom turnout and as the Police Federation have warned; low turnouts can also open the door to extreme candidates.
All we ask is a level playing field for candidates and the chance for voters to make an informed decision. There are a few basic steps that would increase turnout and give these positions the authority they need to be effective.
First. Ensure voters know the elections are happening and who the candidates are. The Electoral Commission will be mailing every household to let people know the elections are taking place. Include information on candidates so that people know who they are expected to vote for.
Second. Take to the airwaves. We know broadcasts boost turnout, and they should be part of the Government’s package for raising awareness. With only three weeks from nominations closing to polling day, candidates must get maximum exposure.
Finally, we ask the Government to pledge never to hold a major election in the winter again. You can improve turnout and reduce costs in one fell swoop.
Candidates are working hard to engage local voters. We need you to fulfil your side of the bargain.
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society
Brian Paddick, Former Deputy Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan Police
Rt Hon Alun Michael MP (Labour candidate forSouth Wales)
Ann Barnes, (independent candidate forKent)
MartynUnderhill, (independent candidate forDorset)
Ian Johnston QPM, (independent candidate for Gwent)
Mervyn Barrett OBE, (independent candidate forLincolnshire)
Tal Michael, (Labour candidate for North Wales)
Christine Gwyther, (Labour candidate for Dyfed Powys)
Sarah Russell, (Labour candidate for Leicestershire)
Paddy Tipping, (Labour candidate for Nottinghamshire)
Lee Barron, (Labour candidate for Northamptonshire)
Godfrey Daniel, (Labour candidate for Sussex)
Harriet Yeo, (Labour candidate for Kent)
Ron Hogg, (Labour candidate forDurhamandDarlington)
Sarah Flannery, (independent candidate for Cheshire)
Simon Hayes, (independent candidate for Hampshire andIsle of Wight)
Michael Felse, (independent candidate for Greater Manchester)
Ian Chisnall, (independent candidate for Sussex)
Brian Greenslade, (independent candidate for Devon andCornwall)
Sue Mountstevens, (independent candidate for Avon andSomerset)
Peter Williams, (independent candidate for Surrey)
Richard Hibbs, (independent candidate forNorth Wales)
Alan Charles, (Labour candidate for Derbyshire)
Dr Simon Murphy (Labour candidate for West Mercia)