So the (small number of) votes have been counted, and the results are in. Labour’s David Jamieson is the new West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.
Here are the full results, and those from last time for comparison:
2014 – Turnout 10.4 per cent
Labour: 102,561 (50.83 per cent)
Conservative: 54,091 (26.8 per cent)
UKIP: 32,187 (16 per cent)
Lib Dem: 12,950 (6.4 per cent)
2012 – Turnout 12 per cent
Labour: First Round: 100,130 (42 per cent). Second Round: 117,388
Conservative: First Round 44,130 (18.5 per cent). Second Round: 55,685
Independent (Cath Hannon): 30,778 (12.9 per cent)
UKIP: 17,563 (7.4 per cent)
Independent (Derek Webley): 17,488 (7.3 per cent)
Lib Dem: 15,413 (6.5 per cent)
Independent (Mike Rumble): 12,882 (5.4 per cent)
The first thing to note is the awful news of a fall in turnout – even starting from an extremely low base. PCCs were a good policy, intended to give proper democratic oversight of the police on a local basis, rather than through unaccountable and anonymous Police Authorities or the distant Home Office. But ever since their inception the idea has been let down by poor implementation – holding the elections by themselves in the Autumn, denying candidates the usual guaranteed mailout and so on. Now an August by-election, brought on by the sad death of the incumbent, will deal another blow to their legitimacy.
The details of the result itself are fairly unremarkable – both Labour and the Conservatives gained several percentage points, apparently thanks to the disappearance of the independents who stood in 2012. UKIP also saw their vote share rise, as you’d expect given their surge since last year, and were in third place in each council counting area.