Amidst all the fetting about apathy and a low turnout for the Police and Crime Commissoner elections on November 15th, Phil Butler, the Conservative candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Northumbria is getting on with running an energetic campaign. He has got this hard hitting poster going up on billboards in Sunderland and Newcastle. If the 2010 General Election result was reflected then Labour would win in Northumbria. Yet it is quite apparent that there is not a whiff of defeatism from Mr Butler, a former police officer.
There are some interesting findings from a YouGov poll for RUSI held across England and Wales. It found 21% said they were "certain" to vote. It also showed greater enthusiasm for the police commissioners from Conservatives (33% of whom felt they would help fight crime) than from Labour supporters (only 18% of whom felt that Police Commissioners would help fight crime.) You can hardly blame the Labour voters when this has been the message from their Party. The election pitch now is: "We have said these elections are a waste of time. Please remember it is vital to turn out and vote Labour."
One question with which there was strong agreement was that "individual police commissioner for each force will mean that some areas will have worse policing than others." Quite right. That is what localism and democratic accountability means. That is why the choice matters. It will be an easier choice in 2016 when these comparisions can be made. But, of course, it is important to get it right first time.
Another issue covered was what the priorities should be. Traffic offences were on 5%. Anti social behaviour was top on 59%.