A TADLEY borough councillor who stood as one of the candidates in Friday’s (Nov 16) Hampshire and Isle of Wight Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election has hit out at the Government’s handling of the elections, describing them as a “shambles.”
Mr West, of Tadley and Basingstoke and Deane Borough councillor for Tadley central (UKIP), said the results of the election – with a 15 per cent turn out of an electorate just under 1.5m – proved voters had, he said, no enthusiasm for the concept of a PCC, or for politicising the police.
After results were declared at the civic centre, Southampton at 4.30pm on Friday (Nov 16) following a second count and in line with voters ‘second preference’ choice at the polls, Independent candidate Simon Alexander Hayes was elected, with 33,037 votes.
Mr Hayes, of Lymington, chairman of Crimestoppers Hampshire & the Isle of Wight, and a former chairman of Hampshire Police Authority, said prior to his election that he was standing free of party political pressure, or obligation:
“I believe you, not party politicians, should decide how you want to be policed,” he said in his election manifesto.
However Mr West, who trailed in last place at Friday’s count and who switched political allegiance from Conservative to UKIP before standing as a PCC candidate, said the decision to elect the commissoners had been rushed through parliament:
“People were not consulted and many did not understand what a commissioner was and what responsibilities a commissioner would have,” he said.
Information provided by the government about the campaign, was he said, a shambles:
“A common complaint to me from voters was that they did not know who or what they were voting for and therefore they didn’t,” he said.
Mr West, who is to submit his views to the Electoral Commission, added inclement November weather and shorter days also impacted on turnout.
“This election will go down in history as a shambles and serve as yet another example of the coalition government going from one disaster to another. While people are struggling to make ends meet and the economy is in the doldrums, the government has spent millions on this change that will do noting to improve policing or accountability in the country.”
Newly elected commissioner Mr Hayes has pledged to increase frontline policing numbers, work with statutory, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations to cut crime and ensure an effective and supportive approach to victims/witnesses.
He also intends to create quick and positive community justice, involving local people, introduce better liaison with schools and colleges in respect of young people, tackle repeat offending and encourage restorative justice.
Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Police and Crime Commissioner Election results
Results of second count
Simon Alexander Hayes (Ind) 33,037
Michael Mates (Cons) 13,188
Results of first count
David Ian Goodall (Lib Dem) 27,197
Simon Alexander Hayes (Ind) 47,632
Don Jerrard (The Justice and Anti-Corruption Party) 24,443
Michael Mates (Cons) 52,616
Jacqui Rayment (Lab) 38,813
Stephen Michael West (UKIP) 21,185
Turnout 15 per cent