I initiated a number of twitter conversations following my previous blog about the PCC elections with people I follow who are either standing as PCC’s, have stood as candidates or who may otherwise be interested in this particular subject.
I am only going to summarise those conversations here highlighting what I thought were the key points.
One PCC candidate Christopher E Wrightchris4gwentpcc has added a comment setting out his views and the other individuals I spoke too and anyone else are of course welcome to do so if they wish.
Overall individuals were concerned about the prospect of a low turnout and the estimates given at this stage ranged from about 20 – 35% with an acknowledgement that areas with By-elections & the Bristol Mayoral election may raise their % accordingly.
One clear message that came through was that however low the turnout the results must stand otherwise the message sent to those individuals who had voted would be that their vote did not count.
My view was that a low turnout was an indicator that the role of PCC was not wanted by the public and that the system should be scraped if the turnout was below an acceptable level. Although I still believe that a low turn out does indicate that the role is unwanted this is not a referendum on PCC’s and abstaining will not result in the elections being scrapped.
There was some concern about the fact that a low turnout might undermine the new PCC and some comment on the lack of organised publicity and the lack of funding being provided to candidates to raise the profile of the elections.
Some candidates stated that they were working hard to raise the profile of the elections in an effort to achieve an acceptable turnout.
Since my original post the Olympics have finished and there has been a notable increase in media activity and articles about PCC’s including the issue of turnout. I dont think this particular issue will go away and already one article in the Independent has suggested that a very low turnout may be used as a catalyst to change the structure of policing in England and Wales to a National force.