Thursday, 16 February 2017

Essex PCC elections (2012 and 2016)



There have been two Police and Crime Commissioner Elections in Essex. The first one was held in November 2012, a standalone election in late autumn appeared designed to give a low turnout, and at 12.8% that is what happened.

I delivered leaflets for Val Morris-Cook (Labour) and did a stint of evening telling at a polling station in the centre of Southend-on-Sea, and it was a lonely experience that saw few bothering to cast their votes. I reckon I may have being near-unique in doing any telling for this election in my home borough.

The winner, the Conservative Nick Alston, received (first preferences) a mere 3.9% of the electorates' votes. Whilst Mr Alston won fair and square, it was hardly a ringing endorsement.

The first preference votes :-

Conservative
Nick Alston
51,325
30.51%
Independent
Mick Thwaites
40,132
23.85%
Labour
Val Morris-Cook
27,926
16.60%
Independent
Linda Belgrove
22,163
13.17%
UKIP
Andrew Smith
15,138
9.00%
English Democrat
Robin Tilbrook
11,550
6.87%

After the reallocation of second preferences Nick Alston beat Mick Thwaites by 62,350 votes to 58,664s.

Last year's PCC elections coincided with local authority elections, a much more sensible choice that guaranteed an improved turnout. (It also happens to be cheaper, as you do not have to hire polling stations, pay staff, order special print material, etc.)

Fewer candidates, another Conservative victory, another Labour third spot, and an interesting description for Martin Terry (who is not ex-police).

I was in hospital on election day, besides which it was my re-election, so my involvement in this contest was minimal. I did have a canvassing session with Chris Vince (Labour) though.

Conservative
Roger Hirst
110,858
33.50%
UKIP
Bob Spink
80,832
24.42%
Labour
Chris Vince
65,325
19.74%
Zero Tolerance Policing ex Chief
Martin Terry
43,128
13.03%
Liberal Democrat
Kevin McNamara
30,804
9.31%

The Labour vote went up, as did UKIP's. UKIP's bump was doubtless assisted by the impending referendum on the UK's membership of the EU.

After the reallocation of second preferences Roger Hirst beat  Bob Spink by 135,948 votes to 103,792.

The turnout this time was 26.06%, giving Mr Hirst an 8.7% mandate; this being the percentage of all voters in Essex who chose him as their first choice.

Again, within the rules Mr Hirst won, but one cannot help but wonder what sort of mandate this is for the changes he wants to make for Essex as regards to both the Police and the Fire services.


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