Plymouth people have no idea who Tony Hogg is
A SURVEY carried out for the Electoral Reform Society also found that most people – nearly 90 per cent – could not name the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for their area.
PCCs, which replaced existing police authorities, have the power to hire and fire chief constables and set the force's budget and "strategic direction".
In its report into the November ballot that was marred by a record-low turnout and cost £75 million to hold, the group branded the poll "an exercise in how not to run an election".
The ERS said: "The low turnout of the election resulted in some extraordinarily weak mandates."
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The group said that the elections "failed both candidates and voters alike". The society made a number of recommendations for the next PCC election, which included not holding a poll in winter, and posting information on the candidates to voters.
A Home Office spokesman said: "These elections marked the biggest democratic reform in policing in our lifetimes. More than five million people turned out to vote for the first ever election of Police and Crime Commissioners, giving them an infinitely bigger mandate than the unelected and invisible police authorities they replaced."
However, ERS figures revealed that only one in 20 voters backed the winning candidate in Devon and Cornwall, Tory Tony Hogg who scooped the top job in last November's poll. This was lower than the average commissioner mandate of 7.1 per cent.
In Devon and Cornwall, just 15 per cent of eligible electors bothered to vote, which was in line with the picture nationally – the lowest turnout in peacetime history.
YOUR TAKE ON TONY HOGG
THE Herald took to the street and asked scores of shoppers if they could name the man in the top police job – and not one shopper in Plymouth could say who the Police Commissioner in the area is.
And everyone The Herald spoke to failed to hit the polling station on election day.
Most people said they weren’t told enough about the job role or the candidates to inspire them.
Foster carer and driving instructor Lorraine Strudden broke the habit of a lifetime by not voting in the Police Commissoner elections.
She said: “I don’t know who he is and I didn’t vote. I vote in every election but I didn’t know who anybody was.
“It would have helped if there was more publicity but sometimes it’s a waste of public money publicising these things.
“I have a vague idea of what he does, he’s someone who is supposed to be impartial and oversees what the police get up to.”
Mark Aggett, from Southway, said: “I had no literature at all come through my door to say who was standing.
“In Westminster and council elections you are used to seeing it everywhere.
“I would have been more inclined to vote if there had been more information.”
Newlyweds Leanna Hobbs, 25, and her 20-year-old husband Callum, both from Crownhill, didn’t vote.
Callum said: “I don’t know who the commissioner is and I didn’t know he was elected by the public. It’s a good idea in theory but they didn’t make much of it.”
Leanna added: “I heard a bit about it on TV and I saw the names of the people I could vote for.
“But I didn’t know anything about it, they weren’t telling me what they are all about and why I should have voted for them.”
Barman John White, 20, says there was no buzz about the election.
The pint puller at The Tamar, Crownhill, said: “I didn’t even know the elections were going on. There wasn’t any chat about it in the pub.
“You always know when there are council elections because you hear people talking about it in here and it’s on TV.
“I’ve heard of the role before but I haven’t a clue what the man does.”
Married parents and students Anthony, 29, and Jenny Telfer, 28, usually vote in the general election.
Jenny said: “We did know about the election but we didn’t know enough to make an informed choice.”
Anthony added: “We’d have been more inclined to vote if we were told more about the people and the role.
“I’m not convinced the role is even needed.”