YORK and North Yorkshire’s first elected police boss admits she must work hard to win round the apathetic public who shunned her election in huge numbers.

Conservative Julia Mulligan beat Ruth Potter to become the county’s police and crime commissioner, but turnout was only 14.32 per cent and Mrs Mulligan won the support of only one in 13 eligible voters.

Similar turnouts nationwide meant the polls were the worst-attended in British history and Mrs Mulligan acknowledged there was “lot to be done” to win the public’s confidence.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper claimed voters were not given enough information and called the elections “a complete shambles”, while The Electoral Reform Society branded the Government’s handling of the elections a “comedy of errors” and confirmed it would run an inquiry into the low turnout.

The Public and Commercial Services union said the turnouts should sound the “death knell” for Tory-led calls for thresholds in trade union ballots.

Defeated Labour candidate Ruth Potter said the turnout reflected a lack of public enthusiasm for the new roles. She said: “This is obviously a very disappointing turnout to say it’s the flagship policy of the Government.

“I can understand the frustration of people who are saying the Government didn’t tell them enough about it. I think from the voting it is obvious that people do not want a police and crime commissioner.”

Mrs Mulligan said she was “delighted” that so many people in North Yorkshire voted for her, and said she would make significant changes when she takes up her new post next week.

They will include addressing the uncertainty over the position of the Chief Constable and the future of the force’s Newby Wiske headquarters.

Mrs Mulligan insisted she and other new commissioners would have a mandate because they would “replace the police authorities that weren’t directly elected at all”.

Mrs Mulligan won 54 per cent of the vote in York and North Yorkshire, with 47,885 votes. Coun Potter won 38.74 per cent, with 34,328 votes. There were 6,406 spoiled papers. There were only two candidates.

Of North Yorkshire’s 14.32 per cent turnout, York saw the lowest turnout at 12.8 percent, whilst Ryedale saw the highest at 16.25 per cent. Selby recorded a 14 per cent turnout.

Temporary Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said he looked forward to working with Mrs Mulligan, and confirmed he would be “throwing my hat into the ring” to become the permanent Chief Constable.

How the votes were cast (with percentage turnout)
  Julia Mulligan Ruth Potter
Craven (15.9%) 4,169 2,512
Harrogate (14.91) 10,822 5,711
Hambleton (16.02) 6,962 3,478
Richmondshire (13.91) 3,198 1,442
Ryedale (16.25) 4,291 2,227
Scarbrough (13.26) 6,190 4,580
Selby (14.00) 4,760 4,032
York (12.80) 7,498 10,346
TOTAL 47,885 34,328