Police and crime commissioner elections dubbed 'a comedy of errors'

A think-tank has dubbed the Government's publicity around the police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections a 'comedy of errors', as Wiltshire reports a low turnout in the region.

Police elections: Campaigns criticised
Police elections: Campaigns criticised

As the first results come in this morning from PCC elections across in England and Wales, Wiltshire has elected Conservative Angus Macpherson, although there was a turnout of only 15.8%.

The news comes after PRWeek reported this week that former leading lights in police PR have hit out at the lack of awareness-raising around the elections, which have been led by the Home Office in conjunction with the Electoral Commission.

Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, commented: ‘This election has been a comedy of errors from start to finish. Polling stations are empty because voters knew next to nothing about the role, let alone the candidates they were expected to pick from.

‘The Home Office has operated under the assumption that "if you build it they will come". Democracy just doesn't work that way. There have been avoidable errors at every step, and those responsible should be held to account.’

A returning officer at Wiltshire’s election has reported that people have complained about a lack of information regarding the election.

Returning officer Stephen Taylor told the BBC: ‘People have emailed and contacted us saying that they didn't know enough about the candidates in order to be able to make a choice, and obviously that's something I have no control over.’

Taylor called for post-election analysis of how the election was handled to ‘see whether there are any lessons to be learned’.

A spokesman for the Home Office told PRWeek that that it had been ‘publicising PCCs and their benefits’ for more than two years.

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