Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner election - a failure of democracy?

5 May 2024

The only elections in Spelthorne on 2nd May was for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).  This is an elected role that replaced the oversight of policing by local authorities in 2012 and has done nothing to improve policing or accountability.  Liberal Democrats have had a long-standing policy of abolishing the post of PCC, and this has now also been adopted by other parties following our lead.  

The Liberal Democrat candidate, Paul Kennedy said during the campaign “The current Police and Crime Commissioner has increased their office budget by 70% (£1.7M) since 2021 to pay for a larger media team, a deputy and a national policy adviser? All at a time when Surrey Police was judged to have deteriorated in 6 out of 7 delivery areas.”  If elected Paul was committed to reducing the central overhead and getting more police on the streets.

Low turnout and no support for the PCC

Voters have such a poor view of the post that only 16,545 people in Spelthorne bothered to turn out (down from 25,769 in 2021), and this represents only 21.1% of the electorate.  Turnout in boroughs with other local elections had higher turnout, with the average across Surrey being 29.9%.

Surrey PCC votes cast

There would have been a different result with proportional representation

At the previous election there was a system of proportional representation for the PCC, with votes of the lowest candidates being redistributed according to voters second preferences.  This year the winning Conservative candidate only got 36% of the vote, but won because of the unfair “first past the post” system.  Nearly two thirds of voters didn’t want the Conservative to be elected. It is clear that under proportional representation the Conservative would not have been elected.

In Spelthorne, less than 7.8% of those eligible to vote opted for the Conservative – the electoral system is broken.  It is time that we became a modern democracy and introduced Proportional Representation for national and local elections.  This is the long-standing policy of the Liberal Democrats and is already in place and working in Scotland.

Commenting on the election Harry Boparai, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Spelthorne said: "The re-election of this political PCC will do nothing for policing in Spelthorne.  The service is not meeting the needs and expectations of residents.  We need more police officers visible on our streets and less political spin."

Paul Kennedy and Harry Boparai outside Staines Police station
Lib Dem PCC candidate Paul Kennedy and Harry Boparai, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Spelthorne want to see more Police not more political spin

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