On 15th November 2012, the elections for the newly-created post of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) will be taking place. To make sure you are able to vote, register by the 31st October, by visiting www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.
Why vote? The chief role of a Police and Crime Commissioner will be to set priorities for the police force in their area and to manage budgets, among other roles. It is important that students have their say in who is accountable for the policing of their communities, and to ensure that personal concerns, for example student safety, will be upheld by Hampshire’s elected PCC.
However, only 18.5% of the population are expected to vote in the upcoming PCC elections, according to the Electoral Reform Society. This is a worryingly low number, considering the amount of power a PCC will be able to wield over policing and tackling crime in local communities.
There will be 41 PCCs elected across England and Wales on 15th November, and there are six candidates running for the Hampshire position. Here is a brief summary of Hampshire’s six candidates and their top priorities for policing and crime if they are elected:
- Michael Mates (Conservative) says he will focus on tackling crimes concerning violence, drugs and alcohol, as well as rural crime.
- Jacqui Rayment (Labour) promises to prioritise front line policing, while fighting police cuts and working to stop anti-social behaviour.
- David Goodall (Liberal Democrat) promotes the reduction of paperwork for police officers, to allow them to focus on doing police work.
- Stephen West (UKIP) promises that there will be no decrease in front line policing, nor in the council tax precept. Also, parts of his six pledge campaign are the priorities of reducing anti-social behaviour and crime, providing support for victims of crime and advocating the removal of speed cameras.
- Simon Hayes (Independent) also pledges to concentrate on the problem of anti-social behaviour, as well as tackling violence, burglary and theft and to ensure there are adequate numbers of police officers.
- Don Jerrard’s (Justice and Anti-Corruption Party), manifesto is built around a promise to battle abuse of power within public authorities, while also supporting victims of crime.
To find out more about your local candidates, visit www.choosemypcc.org.uk.
You are eligible to vote if you will be aged 18 or over on 15th November and are a British citizen, or an Irish, Commonwealth or EU citizen who is resident in the UK. To register to vote, you need to send off your form, (download now at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk), which must arrive at your local electoral registration office by 31st October.
To read a political take on the PCC elections see the article ‘Police and Politics’ in the October edition of the Wessex Scene magazine, out now.