The Police Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall

After a marathon count, that lasted a good twelve hours or more, Devon and Cornwall’s Police Commissioner was duly elected.  The winner to this lofty position is Tony Hogg; ex-RN man and Conservative. So congratulations to Commissioner Hogg for being elected

The numbers behind the election are pretty poor, with only 196,987 (15%) of voters taking part in the election. The two candidates with the most first round votes having to face off with each other because not one candidate got 51% of the first round votes. There numbers are:

Candidate                First preferences   Second preferences  Total

Tony Hogg              55257                         14162                             69419

Brian Greenslade  24719                         12524                             37243

As for the other candidates, this is how they faired in the first round:

Nichola Jane Williams, Labour – 24196; Brian Samuel Blake, Liberal Democrats  – 23948; Robert Lee Smith, UK Independence Party – 16433; Ivan James Jordan, Independent – 12382; William Morris, Independent – 10586; John Noel Smith, Independent – 10171; Graham David Calderwood, Independent  – 8667; Thomas Macpherson, Independent – 4306

The low turnout is worrying, but also is the number of rejected ballot papers. In the first round this was 6339, and in the second it was a staggering 17897. Of course some could just be down to people making a mistake filling in the boxes, but I really believe many spoilt papers were done on purpose as a some sort of protest vote.

There is one thing that has concerned me on the Police Commissioner elections is the number of ‘so-called’ Independent candidates who could hardly be called Independent as they actively belong to political parties. In some cases they are sitting Councillors under a party banner! That is not Independent.

The next 100 days are going to be interesting to see how these new commissioners take command of their various police authority areas. Let’s hope the first 100 days are not just fancy headlines and token gestures. But really can justify the £100 million spent on this process.

Police Commissioner Elections and the Turnout

It is hardly going to surprise anyone, but the turnout for the Police Commissioner was low. Better than was expected after some Polling Stations had indicated less than 10% turnout.

So how did Cornwall do? Well including postal votes and those who turned up at the Polling Stations it was 15.2%. With 63,678 people voting out of a possible 418,656 electors.

Plymouth turnout was 13.03%; East Devon 16.35%; Exeter 15.44%; Mid Devon 16.18%; North Devon 15.20%. The Isle of Scily and South Hams’ turnout percentages are not yet available. So I cannot give a accurate turnout percentage for the Police Authority area.

It is though a low turnout, and just goes to show the way in which the Government implemented this process has left the principle of a Police Commissioner in taters.

Furthermore, it will be interesting to see how many spoilt ballot papers there were. As this could further lower the percentage of people actually voting for someone.

Cornwall Council’s FOI Request Answered

Cornwall Council have very nicely listed on its website many, if not all of the FOI requests received this year. It is great the council has done this, as hopefully by reading some (or all if you like) it might save time and money in people not asking the same questions over  and over again.

So if you want to know how many cats Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service has rescued you can. Or how many Chauffeurs employs/uses; the number of mobile phones and the cost (I am not provided with one before anyone asks). Also listed is the CEO’s pay; how many Councillors are Freemasons and a whole host other information people might be interested in.

Before you get too excited, there is nothing earth-shattering listed, but does make interesting reading and the full list is HERE. It even lists how many FOI requests have not been answered within the required 20 days. So feel free over your coffee, or lunch break to have a look. Who knows, you might find the question you were about to submit might have already been answered, and that will save the council £150 (average cost of a FOI).

Cornwall Council’s Most Overdue Library Book?

So which library book is the most overdue from Cornwall Council libraries? Interesting question, and one that was asked via a FOI request (don’t know by whom) back in February.

The answer is:  The complete colour, style and image book and A woman’s place : an illustrated history of women at home both checked out  May 5th in 1995 from Truro Library. Do you have it? If so I am sure Truro library would like it back after 17 years!

For all Cornwall Council’s most overdue books, click HERE.

Visit to Active 8

Yesterday, I and a Cornwall Council officer (Chris), visited the Cornish charity Active 8. The charity is based in Falmouth, but reaches the whole of Cornwall. The reason for the visit is Cornwall Council Children’s Schools and Families OSC is looking at how to improve communication, and involvement between young people projects, and see how they can take an active part in policy and the decisions that are made.

For those who may not know, Active 8 is a small Cornish charity, providing two years of fun and challenging experiences for young people with a physical disability, followed by opportunities for young adults (the After Eights) to stay in touch with each other as they start their adult lives. Their website is HERE and is definitely worth a look.

During the visit I met Mike and Richard, along with Active 8’s youth worker Matt. After the introductions, Matt asked each of us which new super-hero would we be as an ice-breaker. I won’t tell you who we would be, or the names, but it was very funny.

As I said, the aim of the visit was to see how these young people felt about Cornwall Council. It was nice to hear that Cornwall Council was good, and it really did try to do its best, though not always getting it right. This was good to hear from people who have had first hand experience of Cornwall Council. I also explained my role as a Councillor, and how that can work as a link between various organisations; plus be there to  help when needed.

It was good to hear how they felt things at Cornwall Council could be improved, their frustrations and solutions to problems. They felt they would like more information about Cornwall Council and services it provides, with regular updates from the council. They felt it was often hard to find out information, or it was not that user-friendly. Issues they raised were taxis, access to beaches, drop kerb, information on services and housing.

The real important message is they wanted to engage with the council and help the council with finding solutions that those with a physical disability faced . This I very much welcome, as with better communication and understanding, we might just overcome the issues.

Huge credit should go to the people behind Active 8 who run a really inspiring program. It was great to meet Mike, Richard and Matt and I look forward to them visiting County Hall in the New Year.

Jim Speaks out on the Hard-sell of Shared Services

The new Cabinet Leader of Cornwall has taken the unprecedented step of sending all Councillors an email quashing a ‘rumour’ that he is now in favour of the outsourcing plans with BT. However, it is not just the rumour part of the email, but claims of hard sell and information not being forthcoming.

In the email it goes on to say:

I have made it clear to senior management that, whilst maintaining circumspection, my previous attitude to the JV has actually hardened.

This situation is due to the relentless hard sell of the JV with no counter arguments. This is democratically unacceptable. Members have a right to all the evidence available and this has not been forthcoming.

When the most senior Councillor has to take steps and sends an email like this, you have to worry. Furthermore, I have been told that many staff are being briefed that the hard-JV is the only option, and even if that happens, not all jobs are safe either.

The plot thickens, and not in a good way either.

Proposed 40mph Speed Limit for the Porthleven to Helston Road

I previously blogged about changes to the speed limits in Porthleven. This proposal is on the larger scale and if implemented will change the whole B3304 from Porthleven to Helston from 60mph to 40mph.

I am not sure everyone will be in agreement, but that is what a consultation is for. As even if it not met with widespread approval, I am sure some elements could be introduced like the reduction of speed leading up to Penrose corner and the hill down towards the boating lake. Then again, from experience of driving along this stretch of road, you would rarely get about 45mph; so this could not be that much of a change.

Anyway, as I said before, Please take part in the consultation, by going HERE and giving your views online, or send me those views via letter or email and I will make sure they get to the right place. The consultation runs from 8th November till 29th November.



Consultation for a New Speed Limit Along Methleigh Bottoms to Stopgate

A new speed limit is proposed to introduce a 40mph buffer zone on the northern side of Porthleven on the B3304 to the A394 Stopgate (currently 60) and to extend the 30mph speed limit on Beacon Road in Porthleven.

This is something I have been asking for a while, and I am very pleased Cornwall Council has set up a consultation to gather people’s views prior to any changes.  It is a must that the speed limit along this stretch of road is reduced. It is a fast road, and there have been many accidents and at least one death that I know of on this road. I am supporting this change, and I hope the people of Porthleven will do too.

It is important people take part in the consultation, which can been accessed HERE. Or send me an email and I will pass on those views. The consultation runs from 8th November till 29th November.

And the extension to Beacon Rd

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