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Turnout feared low at election for Police and Crime Commissioner
NORTH Yorkshire will find out today who its first Police and Crime Commissioner will be.
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.
Today 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.
Yesterday 766 polling stations across North Yorkshire collected 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 noon yesterday had recorded a three percent turnout – said he had voted, but described the entire process as an “utter sham”.
He said: “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 of 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 did not 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 had been fairly quiet. Several readers told The Press they would be handing in a spoiled ballot so show the strength of feeling about the lack of need for a PCC.
The Electoral Reform society had predicted national turnout of just 18.5 per cent, and chief executive Katie Ghose said: “This election has been a comedy of errors from start to finish. Polling stations are standing empty because voters knew next to nothing about the role, let alone the candidates they were expected to pick from.”
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 was about “holding the chief constable to account for the delivery of efficient and effective policing in North Yorkshire”.