The office for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cornwall and Devon stays Blue.

The Police and Crime Commissioner elections are now done and dusted. The turnout for this election was just over 22%, which in my opinion is a pretty poor turnout for such and important role. However, it was an improvement from the previous election.

After the first round of counting, the total number of valid first preference votes cast for each of the candidates is as follows:

Name  Description of Candidate  Votes
DERRICK Gareth Gwyn James Labour Party Candidate 66,519
HERNANDEZ Alison Selina The Conservative Party Candidate 69,354
MORRIS William Independent 22,395
SMITH Jonathan Leslie UK Independence Party (UKIP) 49,659
SPENCER Bob Independent 41,382
YOUNGER-ROSS Richard Alan Liberal Democrats 35,154
The number of ballot papers rejected at the first count is as follows:
Want of an official mark 1
Voting for more than one candidate as to the first preference vote 3,375
Writing or mark by which the voter could be identified 10
Unmarked as to the first preference vote 2,961
Void for uncertainty as to the first preference vote 3,183
Total rejected papers at the first count 9,530
The total number of ballot papers verified is 294,120
The turnout of the election is 22.80%

No candidate received more than 50% of the valid first preference votes. A count therefore needed to be undertaken using the second preference votes for the candidates who are not eliminated from the contest.

This left two candidates in the running to become the Police and Crime Commissioner. There were Labour’s Gareth Derrick and the Tory candidate Alison Hernandez.

The total number of valid second preference votes cast for each of the remaining candidates are shown below:

Name  Description of Candidate  Votes
DERRICK Gareth Gwyn James Labour Party Candidate 20,723
HERNANDEZ Alison Selina The Conservative Party Candidate 21,682
The number of ballot papers rejected at the second count is as follows:
Want of an official mark 0
Voting for more than one candidate as to the second preference vote 161
Writing or mark by which the voter could be identified 0
Unmarked as to the second preference vote 20,249
Void for uncertainty as to the second preference vote 816
Total rejected papers at the second count 21,326

From this, the first and second preferences are added together. As follows:

The total number of valid first and second preference votes cast for each of the remaining candidates is as follows:
Candidate First preferences Second preferences Total
DERRICK Gareth Gwyn James 66,519 20,723 87,242
HERNANDEZ Alison Selina 69,354 21,682 91,036

Therefore, the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Cornwall and Devon is Alison Hernandez. Exeter City Council details.

Alison

The Cornish Guardian has run a story on Alison’s ‘five pledges’

  1. To work as a team with MPs and the Government to get the best funding deal for the people of Devon and Cornwall. The way Government decides how much each force should get is being reviewed. So it is vital we put a strong case for the challenges of our large geography with urban, rural and coastal aspects, along with the influx of visitors during the summer.
  2. Put policing at the heart of communities both on our streets and online.

(a) Safety on our streets: A visible uniformed presence will never be lost during my term of office. It’s so important to respect the diversity of our communities and ensure they receive the policing they need. There is a lot of innovation in Cornwall from working with the other emergency services to greater effect such as the pilot in Hayle. This tri-service station where Police, Fire and Ambulance work as one could be expanded. I’m impressed with the Newquay Safe model and how that can work in other places along with the Streetnet scheme which helps to cascade information about incidences to individual streets.

(b) Safety online: I’m planning to develop policing online specially to protect the young from cyber bullying and online grooming. I want there to be an opportunity to chat to a Police Officer while online. Businesses told me cyber crime was their number one concern when I toured the Royal Cornwall Showground in March and when I visited many towns in Cornwall and they wanted help to learn more how to protect themselves.

  1. Support those affected by crime: victims, witnesses, businesses and the most vulnerable in our community need to be able to better access the Police and supported to put their lives back on track. Victim care is the responsibility of the PCC and I will ensure a strong focus on this. I aim to expand the Safe Place Scheme for people with learning disabilities and the Purple Angel Scheme for people affected by dementia. Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will become known as THE Safe Place to live, work and visit. I will produce a Business Crime Action Plan to better support those who contribute greatly to our community and encourage better practice for keeping employees and customers safe too. I aim to hot desk in high crime areas, support the expansion of Neighbourhood Health Watch (www.neighbourhoodhealthwatch.org.uk) , safeguard children and young people in need and develop a better way to help those with mental health issues.
  • Improve crime reporting, especially 101. Waiting up to 45 minutes is unacceptable. I know work has started, one of which is the introduction of a new email to contact the team 101@dc.police.uk.

  • Review Police Station closures so that people don’t feel abandoned. Again working with the other emergency services is key for this. I want to see how we can maintain the equivalent of a Police Station front desk in some form in every community that wants or needs one. This could be within a partner agency’s premises or even a local business.

  • Though, it is not all celebration for Alison. As the BBC has run a story on calls she should stand aside’ over expenses probe in the recent General Election.

     

     

     

    Who are the candidates standing for the Police and Crime Commissioner in Cornwall and Devon?

    I vote. I have done in most elections since I became eligible to vote. Part of the voting process is to hopefully meet a candidate, but more importantly, receive at least one leaflet from the candidate explaining who they are, why someone should vote for that person, and what they will do if they are elected.

    The last Police and Crime Commissioner election I as many others had a leaflets from just about all the candidates. However, with one full day before the polls open on Thursday, I have had no knock at the door; or a single leaflet. One candidate, did contact me via my official email address with the offer of a meeting. Well done Bob.

    I find the lack of a leaflet very disappointing. If a candidate cannot be bothered to actually explain their priorities to me for this important role, why should I vote for one of the candidates? Though the line given is costs. Yes, leaflets have a cost, and when I seek election, I pay for at least 5000. So why shouldn’t the candidates? 

    With the lack of leaflets/information, residents have asked me who the candidates are and what they stand for. Luckily, there is a handy, though not that well published, website called Choose my PCC. It lists all the candidates nationally. 

    For Cornwall and Devon the candidates are:

    • Alison Hernandez, Conservative – Info
    • Garreth Derrick, Labour – info
    • William Morris, Independent – info
    • Jonathan Lesley-Smith, UKIP – info
    • Bob Spencer, Independent – info
    • Richard Younger-Ross, Lib Dem – info

    If interested HERE is  a link to a downloadable PDF document of all the candidates.

    Out of the six candidates standing, only one lives in Cornwall. That candidate is William Morris who lives in Ludgvan.

    The Government has chosen the supplementary vote system, instead of the ‘first past the post’ system for these elections. This is currently the system used to elect directly elected mayors, the closest existing role to PCCs. 

    Under the supplementary vote system, a voter is asked to indicate first and second preferences. If no candidate has more than 50 per cent of the first preference votes, the two candidates with the highest number of first preference votes go forward to a second round.
    In Cornwall there will be 425 ballot boxes issued. 408,397 people have currently registered to vote, with around 73,000 registering for a postal vote.

    Back in 2012, 63,678 people actually voted of which 29,315 used a postal vote. The last election we saw a pitiful turnout of 15.2%. Just over half, exercised their votes by going to a Polling Station.

    Will this improve this time round?  Or will the lack of leaflets and information result in people not bothering? Having to seek out information is not the best way to engage with the voting public.

    I guess we will find out on Friday morning…

    Election for a new Police and Crime Commissioner will take place on 5th May 2016

    Before the EU Referendum, voters in England will have the ability to elect their areas Police and Crime Commissioner. This election will take place on Thursday 5 May 2016.

    The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) oversees the running of local police forces, including appointing the Chief Constable, setting the local budget and deciding what the priorities should be for the police in their area. At the last election, the Tory candidate, Tony Hogg won the seat with Labour coming second and the Lib Dems coming third.

    We in this PPC area will have the opportunity to elect a completely new commissioner, as Tony Hogg is not seeking re-election.

    Sadly, the turnout both nationally and locally was poor, with a disappointing 15.1% of those eligible in Cornwall, Devon and Isles of Scilly bothered to vote.

    For Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, there will be 1.3 million electors potentially taking part in this election which covers 12 different local authorities ranging from 1,800 electors on the Isles of Scilly to 430,000 in Cornwall. These elections are being led by Exeter City Council, with John Street, the Police Area Returning Officer for Devon and Cornwall.

    In Cornwall 408,397 people have currently registered to vote, with around 73,000 registering for a postal vote.  In 2012 63,678 people actually voted of whom 29,315 used a postal vote.

    Only people who are registered can take part in this election, so I am urging people living in Devon and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to make sure they are registered to vote, so they don’t miss out on having their say on polling day.

    You can register to vote quickly and easily online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. You will need your date of birth and national insurance number.

    There will be almost 1400 polling stations open on the day between 7am and 10pm, so there will not be one very far away from your home which will allow you to cast your vote. Over 200,000 postal votes will be issued across the whole area.

    This election uses the Supplementary voting system. Voters choose one of the candidates as their first choice and another as their second.  If no candidate gains 50%+1 of the vote at the initial stage of voting, the top two candidates are identified.  The second preference votes for the top two candidates, from those candidates which have been eliminated at the first stage of voting, are added to the first stage results, and then a result declared for the candidate with the highest number of votes cast.

    Make your vote count, and take part.

    What will be left of community policing in Cornwall after the Government cuts.

    The Government’s ‘war’ against the public sector does not look like letting up, or even having a short ceasefire. Cornwall Council has had to save £196m over the last four years, and is set to save up to a further £156m by 2018. These cuts are brutal, and affect some of the most vulnerable in our society.

    Yet, Cornwall Council is not the only public sector organisation who is being made to make cuts and reductions in services. The police force in Cornwall and Devon has to make wholesale cuts too.

    The facts are the police service in Cornwall (and Devon) is already poorly served by the current funding formula, which is based on outdated evidence, and biased towards urban areas – like so many other Government funding formulas!!

    Furthermore, the funding formula does not take into account non-crime demand – like mental health, tourism and rurality. Out of all the police forces, only three forces face higher reductions than Cornwall and Devon; Cumbria, the Metropolitan Police (I was surprised at this one) and Lancashire.

    The police in Cornwall and Devon have already cut 860 posts over the past 5 years, which in real-terms equates to 500 officers and 360 staff as part of their work to save a target of £58m.

    The latest proposals from the Government signal a further reduction in grant of 8% for Devon and Cornwall police force, equating to a further loss of £13.5m. This cut makes Devon and Cornwall Police one of the worse hit police forces in the country. A £13.5 million cut equates to a loss of 370 police officers and staff.

    When this is coupled with the potential for a further 25% cut to policing as part of the Chancellor’s Spending Review, The police in Cornwall and Devon could see further cuts of up to £54m. This will only end up with fewer officers doing their job.

    Like funding for Cornwall Council and Health services, the police budget take no account of the impact of tourism in setting the budget.  I feel this is grossly unfair the Government ignores this fact in budget setting.

    Furthermore, it has also failed to take on board the following key points in how the formula works:

    • Failed to take into consideration funding for non-crime demand on the police such as road safety, child protection and mental health issues;
    • The additional cost required to police rural areas. On this, the Government has given no explanation about why rurality is not considered to be important in working out the funding formula;
    • Failed to take into account the impact of alcohol, which is one of the key drivers of crime.

    For example Devon and Cornwall has the 6th highest concentration of bars and clubs in England and Wales – the same amount as West Yorkshire. But Cornwall and Devon receives £27 million less than West Yorkshire. Cornwall and Devon is five times the size of West Yorkshire.

    The funding measure does not look at the levels of concentration of pubs and clubs. Again for example, Plymouth has the 9th highest concentration of pubs and clubs of any local authority in the country – but this is completely ignored in the calculation.

    On Tuesday, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Hogg was in Helston. I was invited  to put a series of questions to him about how the cuts to the police budget will affect community policing in Porthleven and Helston – he actually lives within my Division – and how does he see the future of community policing in Cornwall if these cuts are implemented.

    I also asked him what guarantees can he give residents that there will be a police presence in Porthleven and Helston after the cuts; rather than police having to come from other larger settlements.

    His answer was stark, the budget cuts will have an impact on policing levels in not only Porthleven and Helston, but in the whole of Cornwall too. The Commissioner, told me he is urging the public to contact their MP’s, and write to the Government expressing their views on how the budget cuts will be harmful to police levels.

    In questioning the commissioner, I asked him about vulnerable groups and if they would be left at risk if the cuts are implemented. The Commissioner shared my worry.

    One of the options open to the Commissioner is to raise the precept for the Police Authority to cover the shortfall in funding from the Government. Cornwall Council has struggled with this question too, but has been limited in how much the Council can raise the Council Tax to a maximum of 2%. Any raise over 2% will have to be decided by means of a referendum

    Any raising of a precept (Council or police) is unpopular, but what are the choices? Less police if the money is not found? Will the police force in Cornwall be one of reactionary, rather than prevent? And where will it leave the police in non-crime areas, like mental health and child protection? If you did not know, the police are also the lead in tackling Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in Cornwall.

    If the police budget is reduced, then these areas will be under greater pressure with other agencies having to pick up the cap. Of course, those other agencies are the Council and Health, who are under huge financial pressures themselves.

    My fear when you add all the agencies cuts together, vulnerable groups will be at risk, or should I say greater and harmful risk. When will the Government see their ‘austerity measures’ are actually harming the groups they should be protecting.

    Will these cuts mean the total end of ‘Bobbies on the beat’?

     

    Devon and Cornwall Police crime website

    At a recent Porthleven Town Council meeting the local PCSO ‘Paul’ gave his monthly crime report for the area. In the scheme of things, crime is low in Porthleven. During the meeting, Paul mention the police’s crime website. On this site it lists all the different types of crimes in a policing area. It also gives the figures for the whole of Cornwall.

    For example in August, Porthleven had 37 crimes reported. These ranged from the most common crime being anti social behaviour with 14 reported to violence and sexual offences which had two. There was also three vehicle offences for the same period.

    The information is delivered by means of an interactive map, which also gives the location of the crime down to the street. The site does not only list crimes, but also gives other information like who is your local beat manager, police officer and PCSO.

    I have to say I am very impressed with this site. However, there is only one slight drawback to this site at the moment, and that it is slightly out of date with the last recorded information was for August. Still I am sure this will be soon sorted.

    The website can be found via clicking this link  Police.uk website

    Electoral Commission do the numbers on Police Commissioner Elections

    Those clever people at the Electoral Commission have crunched the numbers behind the recent Police Commissioner Elections. It makes very sad reading because of the number of valid votes is lower than first thought.

    The actual Ballot box turnout (which includes votes rejected at the count) was 15.1%. This is the total number of valid votes plus rejected votes at the count. This was 5,491,038 actual votes. Now if you take out the rejected votes, the percentage falls to 14.7%. This means the number of valid votes was 5,335,143.

    The total number of rejected* votes was 155,895 or 2.8% of votes. That is a lot of rejected votes in an election and give weight to those ballot papers that were spoilt on purpose. Like the 6,000 odd in Cornwall.

    Let’s hope the Government learns the lessons from this Election, as it was very poorly supported not just by the public, but by Government resources too.

    *Ballots can be rejected at the count for the following reasons: want of an official mark; voting for more than one candidate as to the first preference vote; writing or mark by which the voter could be identified; unmarked as to the first preference vote and void for uncertainty (as to the first preference vote).

    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 and Devon Police Commissioner Elections

    With twenty days to go until polling day for the Police and Crime Commissioner you would think considering the fundamental change to how the Police Service is run there would be more about it, after all it for the first time, forty-one Police Authorities are going to have a directly elected head. And it has been said this is one of the biggest changes to how the Police is run since 1829.

    These elections are taking place on the 15th November (many people still do not know this) and I am staggered at the lack of information available to the public unless you Google it. It seems the Government has decided not to put any real resources into the process; apart from the odd advert on TV. Residents have asked me about it as they have no information. Many are saying why bother to vote, when there is not any real detail out there.

    Even experts in elections are predicting a very low turn-out, which is hardly surprising because of  the low-key way this election is being handled. If it is as predicted a low turn-out, how does that impact on the democratic process? Not well I fear, or the democratic mandate for the new Commissioner.

    So who is standing as a candidate in Cornwall and Devon? What are they promising to solve? There is a fully functioning  and official website for the Police Commissioner candidates HERE. But who is standing for Cornwall and Devon? You might be amazed, but there are ten candidates all wanting our vote. These are in alphabetical order:

    Brian Blake – Liberal Democrat – Info

    Graham Calderwood – Independent – Info

    Brian Greenslade – Independent – Info

    Cdre Tony Hogg – Conservative – Info

    Ivan Jorden – Independent – Info

    Tam Macpherson – Independent – Info

    William Morris – Independent – Info

    Bob Smith – UKIP – Info

    John Smith – Independent – Info

    Nicky Williams – Labour – Info

    I have linked the various candidates websites so you can have a look for yourself and make your mind up who you think can do the job. Let’s hope for the sake of democracy people actually turn out and vote on the day. For something that is a fundamental change to policing, and the Governments pet project, you would think they would have put in more effort in the whole thing.  I guess not.