Rural votes are vital in elections for Police and Crime Commissioners

  • Riders, along with other country people, are being urged to get out and vote on Thursday, 15 November, when elections for Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will be taking place across England and Wales.

    The commissioners will decide how police forces spend their budgets — and both the Countryside Alliance and lobby group Vote-OK say it is very important that candidates who will take rural crime seriously are elected.

    “Police budgets, like everything else, are being squeezed — so it’s vital the commissioners understand rural crime,” said George Bowyer of Vote-OK.

    “We don’t want people who spend all the money on the big city in their patch and don’t understand the irritation of having your tack or your tractor or diesel stolen — then have a police officer turn up three days later,” he added.

    But the elections have failed to capture the public imagination and polling suggests that turnout could be the lowest in British history.

    Mr Bowyer is concerned that if rural voters stay at home, candidates unsympathetic to their concerns will be elected.

    “John Prescott — the man who talked about the ‘contorted faces’ of the Countryside Alliance — is standing for Humberside. He would be extremely likely to focus his resources on Hull,” said Mr Bowyer.

    Vote-OK supports pro-repeal MPs, but Mr Bowyer stressed that the election was “not about hunting”.

    “But we do not want to see a police commissioner who decides the best way to use the limited resources is on chasing around hunts that are doing their best to work within the law,” he added.

    H&H reader Jo Worley from Sandy, Beds, agrees that it is crucial to ensure that the right people are elected.

    Ms Worley has been so frustrated by the response of her local force that she has formed a campaign group which attempts to make the police take rural crime seriously.

    “Three lads were caught breaking into my yard. I called 999 but the police didn’t even caution them,” she said.

    “Others have been told to dial 101 and speak to the rural liaison officer — only to be told there was no one in the role.”

    For more information about the elections and to register for a postal vote visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (1 November 2012)

    You may like...