On May 7th next year, elections will be held for 36 Police and Crime Commissioners in England, and four in Wales. In July last year, I was pleased to note that the Conservatives were pressing on with candidate selections in good time and this seems to be proceeding reasonably smoothly. The role of PCCs is now secure – Labour has dropped proposals to abolish them. On the other hand, they have yet to entirely capture the public’s imagination.
At least Londoners know that their Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has responsibility for policing in the capital – even if he sometimes is rather evasive about it. But what of the some of the areas covered by the PCCs? Who would describe themselves as living in “West Mercia”? Or “Humberside”? Or “Thames Valley”? These are bureaucratic labels, rather than the names of real places that stir allegiance. There is a PCC for “Devon and Cornwall”. But whoever said they lived in “Devon and Cornwall”?
The difficulty is that each PCC is responsible for a specific police force. While not involved in day to day policing, they set the priorities. Unlike toothless and unlamented Police Authorities, the PCC has real power – in deciding the precept and hiring and firing the Chief Constable. So to have more PCCs covering smaller areas would mean reorganising the police. That the lead us to the familiar debate over size – that of economies of scale provide greater efficiency set against the concern that an organisation can become too remote and unwieldy.
Anyway, in the last elections in the 2016 PCC elections, the Conservative candidates won 20 of the 40 contests held in England and Wales. 15 were won by Labour, three to independents, and two to Plaid Cymru.
In the following areas I understand the following sitting Conservative PCCs have been reselected or are seeking reselection:
- Bedfordshire – Kathryn Holloway
- Cambridgeshire – Jason Ablewhite has been reselected.
- Cumbria – Peter McCall
- Devon and Cornwall – Alison Hernandez has been reselected.
- Essex – Roger Hirst has been reselected.
- Hampshire – Michael Lane
- Hertfordshire David Lloyd
- Kent – Matthew Scott
- Lincolnshire – Marc Jones has been reselected.
- Northamptonshire – Stephen Mold has been reselected.
- Staffordshire – Matthew Ellis
- Suffolk – Tim Passmore
- Sussex – Katy Bourne has been reselected.
- Warwickshire – Philip Seccombe
- West Mercia – John Campion
- Wiltshire – Angus Macpherson
Julia Mulligan is the sitting Conservative PCC in North Yorkshire. But she may stand down having failed to win enough support to be automatically reselected. David Munro in Surrey also missed out on automatic reselection.
Leicestershire is an area where Labour won last time but it is very much a Conservative target. Rupert Matthews, an East Midlands MEP, has been chosen as the Conservative candidate. Rather surprisingly, Labour won in Cheshire last time. John Dwyer, the former Conservative PCC for the area, has been selected to try to win it back. Congratulations to them.
For Avon and Somerset (held by an independent) the Conservative candidate will be Mark Shelford so good luck to him.
Anthony Stansfeld the sitting PCC is for Thames Valley is standing down. Matthew Barber is seeking the nomination.
I will provide a further update on selections in due course.