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Voters need more help to choose between candidates in PCC elections, Police Commissioner warns

Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa today backed calls for more information to be given to the public ahead of PCC elections.

This week (8 Sep) the Electoral Commission published a report on the administration of the 2016 Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Elections, held in May, in which it concluded there was a lack of information about the candidates among voters.

Although it found the elections were well-run and voters were satisfied with the process for registering to vote, the body found little change on the availability of information for the public from the inaugural PCC elections in 2012.

Previously, the Commission called on the Government to amend legislation to allow a candidate booklet to be sent to households in each police force area to raise awareness about the role of PCCs and what the elections involved.

Responding to the report, Mr Dhindsa said: “I would echo the concerns of the Electoral Commission; it is vitally important the right information on all candidates is made readily available, as it is with MPs elections, to enable voters to make an informed decision on the future of policing within their force area.

“This is something I keenly supported before the current elections; indeed, as Deputy PCC, I stood firmly with my predecessor, Alan Charles, in raising this issue with the Government following the Electoral Commission’s initial recommendations.

“The PCC elections in May highlighted once again that many eligible voters refrained from turning out because they did not have enough information on the candidates to make a decision. In the interests of effective democracy and fairness this is a matter than needs to be addressed.” 

The Electoral Commission’s report details a series of key recommendations including the availability of a candidate booklet ahead of all future PCC elections, changes to the way instructions appear on the ballot paper to reduce confusion, careful consideration of the 2020 combined polls and whether these should be moved to different dates to make voting clearer. 

Andrew Scallan CBE, Director of Electoral Administration at the Electoral Commission, said:“Voters have consistently told us that they do not have the information they need ahead of these elections to make an informed decision about who to vote for. This is a fundamental problem that needs to be addressed, which is why we continue to recommend that provision is made for candidate information to be sent to every household as happens at elections for local authority executive mayors.”

Ends

Media enquiries:  Sallie Blair 01283 821012

Posted on Friday 9th September 2016
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