‘Discrimination’ claim against police elections
A major political party has refused to field a candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in North Yorkshire after claiming the election process discriminates against independent candidates.
No Liberal Democrat or independent candidates have put themselves forward for election in the county, leaving voters with only two candidates to choose from.
And the party’s leader on North Yorkshire County Council said they decided not to field a candidate as a deliberate protest against the election process.
County Coun Geoff Webber said:
“We are frankly appalled the political parties are getting involved in policing.
“You cannot keep politics out of policing, but you can keep party politics out of it.”
Independent candidates are being discriminated against in the nomination process, he claimed.
“The system is all geared up to make sure somebody from one of the political parties gets in, and it is geared against independents.”
With a heavy £5000 deposit to pay before candidates could put their name on the ballot and no free mailshots provided, County Coun Webber said the costs of standing were far beyond the reach of candidates without backing, and funding, from political parties.
“The government should have made it easier for independent candidates to stand,” he added.
He called for the government to reconsider the process before the next Police and Crime Commissioner elections in four years’ time.
“Once the whole system has bedded down I would hope the government will look again at the way the commissioners’ successors are elected. This year’s election is likely to have a low turn out, so the government needs to look at how to engage both the public and candidates.”
Electing the Police and Crime Commissioners
The first Police and Crime Commissioner elections will take place on Thursday, November 15 for 41 police forces across England and Wales.
With only two candidates standing in North Yorkshire, the election will use the same first-past-the-post system used in General Election in the UK and voters will chose one candidate on the ballot paper.
Once they are elected the commissioners will be able to hire and fire Chief Constables, the most senior police officers in the force.
They will also have power over police budgets, and be responsible for making sure the public’s priorities are reflected in policing.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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