A Blair Gibbs tweet suggests that the Police and Crime Commissioner elections need a boost?

On Monday Blair Gibbs posted the message below on Twitter:

Blair Gibbs ‏@Blair_Gibbs

With by-elections & Bristol mayor poll also set for 15 Nov, turnout for police elections just got an extra boost #superduperthursday #PCCs

Retweeted by Nick King

This message followed the resignation of Louise Mensch and the announcement that the by election in her constituency would take place on November the 15th the same day as the elections for PCC’s.

Blair Gibb’s message together with the fact that the Government is about to launch a 3 million pound advertising campaign to raise the profile of the elections indicate that they do indeed need a boost.

Overall it appears that many commentators expect a low turnout for these elections & there does not seem at this point in time to be much enthusiasm for this new role. A role that will have a significant impact upon policing in England and Wales.

In view of these concerns I wonder what the Government, the candidates and the people will see as an acceptable level of voter turnout? What percentage of the vote and turnout gives a mandate to the one person who will become PCC in each of the 43 police areas in England and Wales.

What percentage of the vote and perhaps more importantly what level of turnout gives that person the right to develop and deliver a policing plan on behalf of all the people who live in that area.

According to this Guardian article only 1/3 of eligible voters voted in the last local elections, and the turnout at the last general election was 65%? Interestingly this table shows that the lowest turnout since 1942 has been just under 60%

So what is an acceptable turnout for the PCC elections?

Although we are not likely to see a turnout approaching that of a general election, a turn out as low as the recent local elections would in my opinion be a complete rejection of the new role and so I believe we need to see a turnout of at least 50% to legitimise the role of Police and Crime Commissioner.

What do you think is an acceptable level?

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2 Responses to A Blair Gibbs tweet suggests that the Police and Crime Commissioner elections need a boost?

  1. Pingback: What does the PCC election turnout rate need to be? | Police & Crime Commissioners | Scoop.it

  2. By Twitter, and honoured I am, (did you like my Yoda impression?) I have been asked to comment on this as I have been known to speculate on the electoral turnout leading to a credibility in the post of Police and Crime Commissioner.

    1 – I was at the Crest Advisory seminar in London and the perceived low level of turnout was discussed … but no conclusions or decisions made.

    2 – Ideally I think that for credibility the winning candidate needs not less than 50.1% of the whole electorate. This would, I believe, put to bed any accusations of any elected P&CC not having the will of the people (Yes we’ve all read the Abraham Lincoln ‘by the people’ speech – http://quoteworld.org/quotes/10279 (just change the word Government for P&CC) – but in trying to be a realist I think that this November this level of turnout is never going to happen in an election poorly advertised and held unilaterally on a wet and cold November day.

    2 – Personally I do not think that the electorate will be electing a Police and Crime Commissioner on 50.1% of the votes cast. The eventual winner will, because of the almost Proportional Representation voting model, be lucky to get 30% of the votes. If you read Mr Gibbs’ article that could be 30% of 30% of the electorate – yes that means a P&CC candidate can get a hugely powerful job for four years with a very handsome salary after gaining just 10% of the available votes in any county …. Can you now see why the political party’s are trying to get their ‘yes-men’ into the posts?

    The fact is that Mr Blair Gibbs is a scaremongerer but in this case his scepticism needs to be heeded.

    I have tried to outline what I think what an ‘acceptable’ level would be.

    I fear that the reality of numbers of votes cast it will be a lot lower and for the first sitting of the Police and Crime Commissioner there will be far too many people with far too many opportunity’s to shout very loudly … I did not vote for you and I don’t know anyone who did.

    This will be a real shame in an election originally designed to move the democracy of the people forward and get their trust in their police force increasing.

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