Election count update: Stephen Bett elected as Norfolk’s first police and crime commissioner (PCC)

The counting of the votes in the Norfolk Police Crime Commissioner election begins at St Andrews Hall. Picture: Denise Bradley The counting of the votes in the Norfolk Police Crime Commissioner election begins at St Andrews Hall. Picture: Denise Bradley

Friday, November 16, 2012
7:07 PM

Former police authority chairman Stephen Bett has been declared Norfolk’s first police and crime commissioner (PCC).

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In profile: Stephen Bett

The former chairman of Norfolk Police Authority emotionally quit in September so he could embark on a campaign as an independent candidate in the race to become the county’s first police and crime commissioner this month.

Stephen Bett, who had been chairman for six years, also resigned from the Norfolk County Council Conservative Group (NCCCG) and the North West Norfolk Conservative Association (NWNCA).

Mr Bett’s decision to stand as an independent came after he missed out on being selected as the Conservative candidate for Norfolk in July.

In his election statement, Mr Bett pledged to keep Norfolk safe, keep party politics out of policing, secure the financial future and be firmly focused on what our community needs.

He said: “Putting the safety of individuals and communities first, I will:

Keep Norfolk safe as one of the lowest crime counties in the country;

Ensure that police fight serious and organised crime and support vulnerable people, including our elderly and disabled. Priority crimes include drug dealing, sexual offences, domestic violence, hate crime and anti-social behaviour;

Protect the frontline in the face of cuts;

Secure the constabulary’s financial future;

Protect local policing from privatisation – achieving the savings we need by collaborating with other police and public services, and with the voluntary sector;

Ensure the Constabulary works smarter – using targeting and prevention to reduce demand, working with young people to stay clear of crime; and using restorative justice to achieve long-lasting solutions.

Making balanced decisions in the best interests of the community, I will:

Listen to communities and victims;

Reach out to minority communities and the disengaged to ensure policing is fair and equitable;

Be a strong, independent voice, robustly challenging the chief constable to deliver what the public needs;

Reject party politics and work with other Independents to provide a national voice.”

He added: “Why Me? I am the candidate with the most experience of policing. I have been on the police authority for 16 years, the last six as chairman.

“Under my chairmanship Norfolk has become one of safest counties in England. We have delivered large savings while increasing efficiency and satisfaction.”

Mr Bett, who resigned as chairman and from the Conservative party to embark on a campaign as an independent candidate, beat Tory candidate Jamie Athill into second place.

Mr Bett received a total of 39,988 votes compared to Mr Athill, who was selected as Conservative candidate ahead of Mr Bett in the summer. Mr Athill received a total of 36,605.

The results were announced at St Andrews Hall, in Norwich, just after 6.15pm.

Mr Bett said: “Thank you Norfolk! I’m delighted to have won the election to be Norfolk’s first police and crime commissioner and pleased that my non-party political stance won the day with the voters.”

Stephen Bett, at the launch of his PCC manifesto in Norwich. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYStephen Bett, at the launch of his PCC manifesto in Norwich. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

He also thanked his family and campaign team, who dubbed his bid The Safe Bett, for their “fantastic” support.

Mr Athill said: “This is my first election and of course I’m disappointed to have lost but the first thing Iu must to is congratulate Mr Bett and his team.” He added he was a supporter of the post of police and crime commissioner and said Mr Bett would have his “support”.

The race to become Norfolk’s first PCC became a two-horse race after the first round of voting. Mr Athill and Mr Bett were out in front after the Norfolk first round results were announced just before 4pm.

But as no man had secured more than 50pc of the vote, voters’ second preferences were counted.

Mr Athill, who received 30,834 (31.7 pc) votes, and Mr Bett, who got 27, 842 (28.6pc) then went head-to-head in a second round of counting after the three other candidates were eliminated.

Former Norwich City Council leader Steve Morphew, Labour’s candidate, received 21,456 votes (22pc), Ukip’s Matthew Smith 9,633 (9.9pc) and Lib Dem candidate James Joyce got 7,392 (7.6 pc).

The total valid first preference votes for Norfolk was 97,157 while the total rejected was 3,251, which means a total of 100,408 people voted in Norfolk.

Overall turnout was 15pc of eligible voters, which breaks down as Breckland 12.9pc, Broadland 15pc, Great Yarmouth 12.6pc, King’s Lynn 14.5pc, North Norfolk 16.1pc, Norwich 16.3pc and South Norfolk 17pc.

In Suffolk Conservative Tim Passmore has become Suffolk’s first police and crime commissioner.

Labour’s Jane Basham had held a narrow lead in the race after round one, but after the second choices of those who voted for David Cocks, an independent, and Bill Mountford, Ukip, were counted, Mr Passmore won.

The turnout figure in Suffolk has been confirmed as 16.01pc, meaning 88,497 of the county’s 552,780 voters bothered to take part in the election.

For full story see tomorrow’s paper.

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