Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw has launched a scathing attack on the process of the police and crime commissioner elections following the lowest turnout for a national poll in history.
Only 15.44 per cent of the electorate in Exeter voted in the election – broadly representative of the national figure. The result for the Devon and Cornwall police and crime commissioner is due to be announced this afternoon with the winner taking responsibility for setting police policy and budget and the incumbent will also have the power to hire and fire chief constables.
But ahead of the announcement Mr Bradshaw said: "The turnout is absolutely shocking and it shows what a complete farce this whole process has been. It discredits the whole process and the result. The government need to go back and look at this all again.
"We need to wait and see what the result is but to try to run a police service on a mandate of 15 per cent is extremely difficult. The legitimacy of the post will clearly questioned as a result.
"I don't blame the candidates themselves– this rests with the government. Partly because people don't agree with elected police commissioners generally but the government has done nothing to explain or sell the policy properly in my view. I have also found, when I have been in Exeter, that in the days running up to the vote people did not know who their candidates were and had received no information. This is because the government refused to fund a mail out. They have rightly been castigated by the electoral commission.
"How on earth can ordinary voters know who they were and what they stood for? "It has been a complete shambles. It was the lowest turnout in history for any election."