THE INDEPENDENT candidate for Warwickshire's police and crime commissioner, Ron Ball, was elected into the role today, suggesting the people of Warwickshire do not want party politics influencing local policing.
After the first round of votes, Mr Ball was second in the running, having received 21,410 votes. The Labour candidate James Plaskitt was winning with 22,308 votes, and the Conservative candidate, Fraser Pithie, was eliminated after receiving 20,571 votes.
However, because the Supplementary Vote (SV) system was used in the PCC elections, the second choices of those who voted for Pithie were then counted.
Mr Ball easily overtook Mr Plaskitt, as it became apparent those who voted Conservative first, were unlikely to cast their second vote for Labour.
In the Stratford district, Ball received 3,909 of Pithie's votes, whereas Plaskitt only garnered 683 more. The final total count was 33,231 for Ball, and 25,200 for Plaskitt.
Mr Ball, who has been elected for four years and will be paid £65,000 a year, said: "In terms of the result, I think I tapped into the feelings that this was bringing party politics too close to policing. I don't think the other candidates really recognised that."
The whole election was marred by a dismal turnout. Only 66,085 people turned out to vote in Warwickshire, just 15.65% of the electorate. The Electoral Commission have launched an inquiry into the "dismal" turnout figures throughout England and Wales.
Mr Ball said: "The low turnout is the fault of the government which did such a bad job of selling a flagship policy. I don't know if they're embarrassed, but they should be."
The new role is designed to ensure the policing needs of the communities in Warwickshire are met. The Home Office say police commissioners will give the public a say when it comes to cutting crime.
Warwickshire Police Chief Constable Andy Parker said: "Following the election of the first police and crime commissioner for Warwickshire the top priorities were a continuation of the strategic alliance with West Mercia offering the best possible service with the resources we have available, which to me means, catching more criminals and reducing crime. We need to make sure we are affordable and sustainable as we go forward."
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