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‘Public need to be made more aware of elections’
9:30am Tuesday 29th May 2012 in News
Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton has called on the Government to mobilise voters ahead of the elections for the new police crime commissioners.
Every police force in the country will have a police crime commissioner on an £85,000-a-year salary after votes are cast in the election on November 15.
Commissioners are replacing the current police authorities, which oversee how forces operate.
Anyone on the electoral register is eligible to vote. But there are concerns the public are not interested enought to vote.
Ms Thorton said: “What I and other chiefs have been saying is that the Home Office and politicians need to be a lot more proactive in getting people involved.”
The final list of Thames Valley police crime commissioner candidates has not yet been revealed and Labour party members are this week receiving their voting forms to select a Labour candidate to put forward.
Ben Simpson, an independent member of the Thames Valley Police Authority, shared Ms Thornton’s concerns.
Mr Simpson said: “She is anxious that the public should have an awareness of what the changes and implications are and that they should vote in significant numbers.
“I think there is quite naturally some concern there will be a low turn-out in November.”
He said that the introduction of the alternative voting system and the concept of a Thames Valley regional vote could impact on the voter turn-out.
Jon Harvey, who is a shortlisted Labour Party candidate for the post in Thames Valley, called on the Homes Office to spend money to communicate with the electorate about the vote.
He said: “It’s really important that we get at least a similar mandate that we you get with a council election.”