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Who are you? Our police and crime commissioner survey shows a shocking apathy towards next month’s elections and Norfolk and Suffolk’s candidates standing in them

13:23 24 October 2012

PCC Candidates addressing the Ecumenical Criminal Justice Forum at Granary Court. Photo: Steve Adams

PCC Candidates addressing the Ecumenical Criminal Justice Forum at Granary Court. Photo: Steve Adams

With less than a month to go to the first police and crime commissioner elections, three per cent of people know who the candidates in the region are and only 25 per cent are planning to vote, an EDP poll has revealed.

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Landmark elections will be held on November 15 to choose police and crime commissioners who will replace police authorities currently in charge of 41 police forces in England and Wales.

Police and crime commissioners will, according to the government, give power back to the people and make forces more accountable.

But last night, as candidates for the £70,000 a year post in Norfolk and Suffolk were confirmed, a survey carried out by EDP reporters of people living in Norwich, King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth, Dereham, Cromer, Beccles, Lowestoft and Diss revealed the overwhelming levels of apathy.

Reporters took to the streets of Norfolk and Suffolk with pictures of the full list of candidates in the respective counties to find out if people knew who they were, or if they were going to vote.

Our poll found of a total of 138 people surveyed found:

Just five (three per cent) knew who the candidates were, while 133 (97per cent) did not.

Just 35 people (25 per cent) intended to vote, 95 people (68 per cent) did not, while eight (six per cent) did not know whether they would or not.

Of the 20 people asked in Norwich, only two could name the five Norfolk candidates - Steve Morphew (Labour), Jamie Athill (Conservative), James Joyce (Lib Dem), Stephen Bett (independent) and Matthew Smith (UKIP) - and only one would be voting.

In Cromer again two of the 20 people asked knew who the candidates were, but nine of those asked indicated they would be voting.

One of those who would be voting, even though she did not know who all the candidates were, was Joan Stride, 81, who is retired and from Cromer. She said: “I think it’s something that concerns every resident in the area. It’s a shame they are all from political parties though. I would like to know about the other things they have done and what they are concerned with and what they have contributed too.”

But Christine Graham, 61, of Wood Road, Cromer, said: “It does not matter who you vote for, I don’t think it will make a difference.”

None of the 20 people asked in Dereham could name any of the county candidates and only one was a possible voter.

John Brooks said: “If I knew who they were and what they represented then I might vote but I can’t at the moment because I know nothing about them.”

And Malcolm Cross said: “I got the leaflet yesterday to vote but I don’t know them so I won’t bother.”

Sue Phillips, 43, from Scarning, who works for the NHS, said: “I will see how I feel on the day. At the moment I don’t know anything about them so it would be a lucky guess.”

Again in King’s Lynn, where 12 people were asked, no-one knew who the candidates were and just four were intending to vote.

Accountant Michael Pellizaro, from King’s Lynn, who did not know who they were said: “If someone sends me some information about what they’re going to do I might vote.”

Therapist Amanda Goss, from Norwich, said: “They do all look familiar.” On voting she added: “I haven’t thought about it.”

Computer operator Donna Wyatt, 44, from Downham: “People died so I can vote, so I do intend to.”

And Sales executive Karen Everitt, 50, from Hilgay: “One or two look slightly familiar but I couldn’t say. It depends if I get sent any information about it.”

Meanwhile just one of the 20 people asked in Great Yarmouth - where UKIP candidate Matthew Smith is from - knew who the Norfolk candidates were and four were planning to vote.

In Suffolk, where Jane Basham, David Cocks, Tim Passmore and Bill Mountford are seeking election, none of the 20 people in Beccles asked knew who they were.

Self-employed landscaper Simon Wilson, of Glebe View, Beccles, said he didn’t know who they were but would vote in the Suffolk election.

He said: “I think there is a need for us to have this. I have got two children and want to look after their welfare. Having your say is important to me.”

In Lowestoft, again just one of the 20 people asked knew the candidates, while seven of those surveyed wanted to vote. Norman Jones, 61, from Kessingland, said he did not know any of the four candidates but would be voting. He said: “Well someone has got to do the job haven’t they?”

A recent poll of 1,281 adults commissioned by the Transitional Board of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) shows that 62 per cent of people are now aware of the elections.

The Ipsos MORI poll suggests that with a month until the first 41 Police and Crime Commissioners begin to oversee police forces and tackle crime across England and Wales, most voters have clear views about who they would vote for, almost a fifth of those who say they ‘definitely’ will vote are undecided about who to support.

In an article in yesterday’s EDP which confirmed Norfolk’s five police and crime commissioner candidates UKIP’s candidate was incorrectly named. The candidate’s name is Matthew Smith.

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9 comments

  • The former editor of the EDP has been right about PCCs all along.

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    JO

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

  • Waste of time voting. Whoever gets in will only be "courting" the party line and will never get the publics opinion. So we are back to the same priciples as councillors. only in it for themselves and the party ?.

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    "V"

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

  • No one should bother to vote, This was meant to be an independent post. All who have put themselves up are Political Puppets. I will not vote as no truly independent (non-political) candidate is available. My choice would be NONE of THE ABOVE.

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    Farquarson-Smythe

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

  • It is really a question of Who are you --- Political Pygmies

    Report this comment

    No to tory boy

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

  • Met Jamie Athill in Sheringham on Monday, sadly, I ve not seen or heard from the rest of the candidates.

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    Hugh

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

  • Another day ,another anti PCC story from the EDP. I am quite sure if their reporters asked the same people to identify from photographs ministers in the government and what their port folios were they would have got very similar answers. If they don`t know who the candidates are for the PCC elections and what it is all about then it must equally follow that they haven`t a clue whatsoever about the chairman, committee members and permanent staff of the Police Authority let alone what they do. It just goes to show how disconnected people are from politics these days and how little they actually care. They know and care more about X factor contestants than they do about the policy makers of this country who have far more affect on their lives than anyone else.

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    BG

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

  • It is a transparent ploy by Government to offset public opinion about police cuts.Chief Constables know,or should know the areas where policing is required and where priority is needed.With an increasing population and a proportionate increase in crime more Police are needed.Will a Commissioner have power to provide that?Obviously not. Another expensive Quango but less expensive than an increase in the Police Force.People should give the matter the respect it deserves and not waste time in voting.

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    irongloves

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

  • I tore up my voting card as soon as it came through thte door - totally apathetic to your "jobs for the good old boys" - More excuses to spend our money of redunancy packages when the job fails or they become corrupt and have to be paid off and as for all those expense claims - need I go on....

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    A Resident

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

  • The whole idea of a police commissioner is a charade. It is a role that is being forced on the public at great expense. When first announced the idea that anybody could apply and it would enable the general public too actually have a say. What was not mentioned was the 5000 pounds non refundable deposit. So much for democracy. The main political parties are putting forward their own candidates , which brings into focus the whole plan of a commissioner. A very political appointment at enormous cost. At the same time as the police are having to face cuts and reducing their service. Lack of interest in voting fits very nicely into the political scheme as party members can be relied on to vote. The politicisation of the police force is under way and how long before this new commissioner will be able to out source policing to the private sector.

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    norman hall

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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