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People urged to use their vote
CHESHIRE’S returning officer is urging residents not to lose their say in a massive change to how Cheshire Police operates.
David Parr, chief executive of Halton Borough Council, is encouraging voters to go to the polls to choose who they think should be the first Police and Crime Commissioner.
The person elected will take over from the Police Authority to represent the Cheshire community, provide a link between the public and police and be accountable for how crime is tackled.
But when the plans were announced in 2010, Cheshire Police Authority said it feared that the change would create ‘tension and conflict’ between the chief constable and the commissioner and ‘politicise policing’.
A spokesman for Halton Borough Council said the election will be on the same scale as a General or European election and all the usual polling stations in Cheshire will be open.
The Guardian appealed to people to have their say on the changes but just one reader got in touch.
A poll on our websites has also indicated that many readers ‘do not care’ about the outcome of the election.
“I think it is pointless and a waste of time,” said Peter Rose, a Guardian reader.
“Generally people don't want it, the area involved is too large and the people standing are not well known to voters.
“They have not had time and money to canvass and the only ones that have have been backed by political parties.
“I do not want our police to be politicised. If nobody votes will it invalidate the election? Less than 10 per cent may create a new low in UK elections.”
A spokesman for Halton Borough Council said: “As always, we continue to encourage everyone to use their vote.”
Almost 200 candidates are on the campaign trail for the nation’s 41 commissioner roles.
Those standing for election in Cheshire are Ainsley Arnold (Lib Dem), John Dwyer (Con), John Stockton (Lab) Louise Bours (UKIP) and Sarah Flannery (independent).
Once in post, the commissioner will:
• Represent and engage with all those who live and work in the communities in their force area and identify their policing needs
• Set priorities that meet those needs by agreeing a local strategic plan for the force
• Hold the chief constable to account for achieving these priorities as efficiently and effectively as possible and playing a role in wider questions of community safety
• Set the force budget and the policing precept in council tax bills
• Appoint and, where necessary, remove the chief constable
VOTERS across Cheshire will use the supplementary voting system when choosing a new Police and Crime Commissioner on November 15.
The new system differs from the traditional ‘first-past-the-post’ method used in local and general elections by giving voters first and second choices.
If one candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the first choice votes, they are declared the winner, but if no-one achieves this, the two with the most remain and the others are eliminated.
The second choice votes for eliminated candidates are counted and any votes for the two remaining candidates are added to their first round totals.
The candidate who then has the highest total of votes is declared the winner.
A public information booklet by the Electoral Commission is being sent to households between October 22 and November 2.
David Parr, police area returning officer for Cheshire, Halton and Warrington and responsible for co-ordinating the election, said: “Voters should not let the different voting system put them off from taking part in the election.
“As well as TV, radio and newspaper advertisements an information booklet, being delivered to every household, will explain exactly what you need to do to vote.”