On Monday Blair Gibbs posted the message below on Twitter:
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?