Police and crime commissioner poll still something of a mystery, says Observer

Our independent columnist urges readers to use their democratic right and vote next month in the police and crime commissioner election.


Elections for the post of Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner will be held on May 5.

They will be part of a nationwide poll across England and Wales (excluding London) where voters can select the person they wish to run the police in the area where they live.

When such elections were held for the first time in November 2012, the electorate yawned and stayed at home, both in Sussex (about 16 per cent turnout) and across the country (an average of around 15 per cent turnout).

At least the weather should be more conducive in May for voting but will people bother?

I am not wholly convinced by the need for police and crime commissioners but I would always advocate people voting, remembering the fight there was to secure universal adult suffrage.

However, the government cannot just order the polling station doors to be opened and hope people will turn up.

Public information


That in reality is what they did in 2012 and it looks as if it is going the same way in 2016.

There appears to be no national campaign of public information to persuade people to go to the polls.

I’ve had no information through the letterbox (or has it been swept straight from the letterbox to the recycling bin, as happens with unaddressed mail in this household).

Will the candidates be getting a free mailshot?

More should be done to ensure a greater turnout so the police and crime commissioners have a proper mandate.

Public officials elected on a turnout of 16 per cent (or less) is a weak mandate. That figure must soar on May 5 if this fledgling system of managing the police forces is to have long-term credibility.

And here’s my public information announcement – details supplied by Wealden District Council


The candidates in Sussex are:

  • Katy Bourne (The Conservative Party Candidate)
  • James Doyle (Green Party)
  • Michael Jones (Labour Party)
  • Patrick Lowe  (UKIP)
  • James Walsh (Liberal Democrats)

Electors who are registered to take part in local elections in the Sussex Police area can vote on May 5. If you are not sure if you are registered to vote, you can register up until Monday, April 18, to take part in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

The candidates’ statements, outlining their aims and proposals, can be viewed on the www.choosemypcc.org.uk website and you can also download a candidate information booklet from the choosemypcc website. You can order the booklet by post by telephoning 0800 1 070708.

Filling in the potholes


It would be churlish of me not to welcome news of money for filling in the potholes. Like some commenters on social media, I fear many roads are beyond “filling in potholes” but need full-scale repairs.

Buses to serve the railway station


I am not the only one who has advocated having small buses running around Uckfield housing estates to serve the outbound and inbound trains at peak times. They would save many single-car journeys and maybe stop the blight of car parking in residential streets around the station.

Congratulations to the Wealden Bus Alliance and Sussex Community Rail Partnership for getting the ball rolling with a survey.

To be successful buses must be frequent and reliable – just the like the trains (should be).

See also:

Uckfield Festival plans take shape

West Park wanderings

How to advertise on UckfieldNews.com

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