The Thames Valley Police Commissioner results (and what they mean)


So, it’s all over. The votes have been counted, collated, and are in the process of being picked over by those sad individuals with nothing better to do with their time (such as myself). But Anthony Stansfeld has been elected as the first Police and Crime Commissioner, so congratulations are due to him.

Below I have assembled a breakdown of the results by candidate and first/second preference. I feel mine are more accurate than the BBC’s, as for reasons best known to themselves they have decided not to include the spoilt ballot figures. Personally, I think spoilt ballots making up over 3% of the total vote is worthy of mention, but anyway:

Name 1st pref 2nd pref Mandate
STANSFELD, Anthony (CON) 76,011 —¬†33.60% 94,238 —¬†54.76% 7.28%
STARKEY, Tim (LAB) 56,631 — 25.00% 70,403 — 40.91%
HOWARD, Geoff (IND) 31,716 — 14.00%
HOWSON, John (LD) 20,511 — 9.05%
COOPER, Barry (UKIP) 19,324 — 8.53%
AWE, Patience Tayo (IND) 14,878 — 6.57%
SPOILT 7,445 — 3.29% 7,445 — 4.33%
Total 226,516 172,086

So there you have it. The turnout was a mere (and embarrassing) 13.3%, which is the lowest turnout I’ve ever seen in an election. When I say that Commissioner Stansfeld has the support of only 7.28% of people in the Thames Valley, it’s not sour grapes, but an underscoring of the real winner of these elections: voter apathy.

Thames Valley voters simply did not turn out on Thursday, and from everything I’ve heard it’s simply because they do not believe that we should have an elected Police Commissioner.

I am, of course, disappointed that Tim Starkey did not win. I wasn’t in favour of the role, but I thought he was definitely the best candidate and would have made the best job of it (well, I would say that, wouldn’t I?). It was always going to be a long shot, but still. Disappointed.

And more disappointment over the Liberal Democrat candidate only polling in fourth. Don’t get me wrong, normally hardship for Clegg’s party would be a cause for giggles (and many hearty giggles were had over their losing their deposit in Corby), but John Howson lost out to “Independent” Geoff Howard, a man who has formerly been a member of Labour, the Conservatives and UKIP, and who offered absolutely nothing to voters. I am forced to conclude that he garnered many votes simply because he ran as an independent.

I’m a touched surprised that UKIP’s Barry Cooper didn’t do better than he did. Possibly it was his views on police armament which hurt him, or maybe all of the fringe-right eurosceptics stayed at hime. It’s hard to tell really.

But none of it changes the outcome. After what has frankly been a disaster of an election (and of policy execution) Anthony Stansfeld will head the Thames Valley Police until May 2016. I still have a great many concerns about him, and I worry that he will be a model of unaccountability in the role — which is ironic, really.

Hopefully he won’t now be refusing interviews with the media and refusing to answer questions put to him, but I have my doubts. At any rate, with the support of only 7.28 of his constituents, and offering no concrete policies in his campaign to boot, I am adamant that he has no mandate at all for radical changes to policing. And you can be sure I will call him out if he attempts any.

I suspect that, regardless, he has just been made a patsy for police cuts to come and rising crime as a result. But his success would benefit all of us, and is in all our interests. So I wish him the very best of luck. I reckon he’ll need it.

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9 comments

  1. The alternative view is I suppose that he ran as an independent because he couldn’t make up his mind what he was!

    1. From some other whispers I’ve been hearing, his changes of party (and thus, presumably, his standing as an independent) was in large part due to an inability to get on with anyone.

  2. I would say that the low voter turnout had little to do with ‘voter apathy’, and much more to do with potential voters who positively decided to avoid an election that they (we) believed to be fundamentally wrong.

    1. I think there was a fair amount of ‘voter indignance’ as you described. A lot of people were angry at an imposition of an elected position (more politicians) that they didn’t want.

      But I do think there was also a large proportion who didn’t vote because they either didn’t know there was an election, didn’t understand (and thus didn’t care about) what they were being asked to vote for, or heard nothing from candidates and thus protested by not turning out.

      Whichever way you look at it, it was a mess of an election.

  3. If you are (rightly) concerned about the poor democratic principle of these police elections, would you be quite so concerned if the labour candidate had been elected? Obviously it is much better for a labour PC to be elected than a Tory one, would it not have been better for the labour party to take a principled and strategic stance rather than a poorly advised political one which would inevitably back-fire in the act of voter apathy? I mean, if the labour party were serious about their opposition to the idea of politics in the police then they would have abstained from all elections and have truly highlighted the horrific democratic deficit that exists within these elections? how can you lament the defeat of a labour candidate yet acknowledge the awful democratic deficit that exists within this electoral framework?

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