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Reflections on the election campaign

Posted: Monday 9th May 2016
Blog: 05-May-2016

Week ending 13 May

I must apologise to readers for the absence of any blogs during the so-called purdah period in the run-up to last Thursday’s PCC elections. Legal constraints meant that such material could not be published on official websites.

With the election over I thought I’d write a short piece for the record about the campaign.

In some respects, my campaign mirrored the activity I have been undertaking since 2012 as your PCC …. namely, consulting the public. I did this by attending markets up and down the county. We also set up and ran a website, and I will be raising many of the comments and questions raised with the chief constable in the coming weeks.

The election process, with a first and second preference, was confusing for some electors, and I think this was reflected in the large number of spoilt papers.

That is not to deny that some papers were spoilt as a protest. Many were concerned that they did not know the candidates.

I know that my campaign was widely publicised by volunteers, but there was no public funding for candidates, and such information that did exist was publicised by the website choosemypcc.com  After that it was up to candidates to do their own publicity.

The turnout was higher than the first time the elections were held, perhaps because they were held in May this time rather than in cold and wet November, and perhaps because, in Swindon, there were other elections at the same time.

In four years’ time the PCC election will coincide with the general election, all things being equal, which will have a major effect on turnout and on the voting decisions taken by individuals at the ballot box.

The election count at the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon ended with the result being announced at around 5.30am on Friday. Having said a few words for radio and TV I headed to bed for the morning.

On Saturday morning I was invited to do a Desert Island Discs type show on Flame FM in Swindon. Sunday was a family day, rare at the best of times.

So back to work today  (Monday 9 May). I’m pleased that we will be working with the same commissioners in the South West region, with the exception of Devon and Cornwall which has a new PCC.

Policing is challenging, but with the support of partners, and with some changes in legislation from central government to give better governance to regional collaboration, I believe that Wiltshire Police is in a good postion to build on what has been achieved in the last four years and to be a better and more efficient force, whilst maintaining the fundamental principle of British policing, in the future.

 

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