Low turn out for voting in North Yorkshire's Crime Commissioner election

First published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , jennifer.bell@thepress.co.uk

VOTING turn out for North Yorkshire's first ever Police and Crime Commissioner looks to be extremely low across the county.

Two candidates are in the running for the £70,000-a-year PCC role with Conservative runner Julia Mulligan up against Labour rival Ruth Potter.

Tomorrow at 2pm the new PCC - who will have the power to hire and fire chief constables and will be responsible for setting North Yorkshire Police's budget - will be announced.

Today 766 polling stations across North Yorkshire are collecting votes between 7am and 10pm.

However there are fears that a very small percentage of the 618,781 people eligible to vote across the region will  have chosen to have their say.

One local resident outside the polling station at the National Centre for Early Music in Walmgate - which by midday had recorded just three percent turnout - said he had voted, but described the entire process as an "utter sham".

He told The Press: "The whole setup has been appalling. I received six separate notices through the post each displaying a criminal on the front and each telling me the importance if voting for a PCC. However none gave me information on the candidates who were running in North Yorkshire and what they were standing for."

The resident, who asked not to be named, said he didn't feel many people would vote as many thought there was "no need" for a PCC.

The Gateway Church in Acomb said there have been a 'few' people attend its voting station but said it has been fairly quiet.

"We are still awaiting the rush," said one of the volunteers manning the polling station this morning.

Several readers told The Press they would be handing in a spoilt ballot so show the strength of feeling about the lack of need for a PCC.

Summing up the role of the PCC , Conservative candidate Julia Mulligan said: "It is to cut crime by understanding local priorities and focusing resources where they are most needed."

Labour candidate Ruth Potter said the PCC role is about "holding the chief constable to account for the delivery of efficient and effective policing in North Yorkshire".

North Yorkshire Police Federation said they do not endorse any one candidate. They said they will work professionally with whoever is elected.

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