Low turnout for Surrey’s police elections

Kevin Hurley, the independent candidate and ex-policeman beat Conservative Julie Isles to become Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

However, the real controversy was the lack of voters who took part in the 41 areas where elections were conducted. The average turnout was less than 15 per cent of eligible voters which is a peace time low. The turnout for Surrey was only slightly over the national average at 15.4 per cent.

The lack of enthusiasm about voting across the country is being put down to insufficient information over the role of the PCC, as a decision was taken not to distribute leaflets in areas where elections were taking place. Voters took to twitter on Thursday to comment on the attendance at Surrey’s polling stations.

Jeremy Smith tweeted: “Just voted for #surrey #pcc. Turnout low. 7 voters in 90 mins. Polling staff bored, reading magazines etc.”

While one user, Tony Peckham, joked: “I’m in a frenzy of excitement about today’s Surrey #PCC election results…. as I’m sure, is the other bloke who voted yesterday.”

A review is to be carried out by Watchdog into the reasons behind the low turnout, with a lack of understanding being put down as the most likely cause.

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “No amount of spin can conceal the historical proportions of this failure. Through both inaction and incompetence the Home Office has helped redefine low turnout.”

However Surrey’s turnout is almost promising compared to Staffordshire, the lowest in the country, where only 11.6 per cent turned up to vote.

The PCC results in Surrey came as a surprise to some, with many expecting Conservative Julie Isles to secure the role. Sean O’Neill, crime editor at The Times, tweeted: “Former met commander wins in true blue Surrey.”

Ex-policeman, Mr  Hurley, is in favour of a no-nonsense policy to policing. He claims he wants police chiefs to be leaders, not bureaucratic managers.

Mr Hurley received 52,793 votes altogether, with 34,793 votes in first preferences and 18,415 in second preferences.

Mrs Isles received a total of 45,068 votes, with 34,391 in first preferences and 10,677 in second preferences. 

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