ELECTION VIDEO: Voters stayed away from polls and reaction from South Yorks PCC result
Voters have described why they did not have a say in the South Yorkshire PCC election - saying the post should be scrapped.
Labour candidate Rev Dr Alan Billings won the £1.6m election with 50.2 per cent of the vote, second to UKIP, and just swinging a majority so that the second preference votes did not have to be counted.
But only 150,361 of the county’s roughly one million electorate had their say at polling stations - which means each vote cost around £10.
Turnout was even slightly lower than the last PCC election in 2012, at 14.88 per cent compared to 14.92 per cent.
But many voters said they had seen no point in voting, or were one of the hundreds who spoiled their ballot paper.
Neil Midgley said: “It is the first time I have not voted in 25 years. I’m hoping mass apathy will convince next Government to scrap PCCs.”
Dave Thornley said: “ I disagree with elected PCCs, the Shaun Wright episode showed they have no accountability and cannot be political
Peter Chan said: “I voted and spoilt my paper as disagree with PCC, candidates are money grabbers.”
Dr Billings admitted turnout was ‘dismal’ after been declared the winner.
He has pledged to give half of his £85,000 salary to victims’ charities in South Yorkshire.
He also said the post had to be filled, until it was abolished if Labour got into power, as the police would face ‘difficult questions’ in the next few months.
He pledged to make sure ‘victims are supported, that criminals are brought to justice, that those that turn a blind eye are brought to account’ to rebuild trust in the police.
Police training should be improved, officers made ‘visible’ on the streets to keep communities safe and a better deal for the force sought from the Government.
He added:“I’ll make sure that victims are put first and people are never ever let down again.
“i’ll fight for real change in SYP so we can begin to rebuild public trust and confidence.”
Meanwhile UKIP candidate Coun Jack Clarkson said the party had ‘dipped a toe’ in the Labour heartlands of South Yorkshire.
In Rotherham 14,266 people voted for Nigel Farage’s often controversial party, compared to 15,006 who chose Labour.
And UKIP said that meant there were only 28 votes too many for them to call for a recount using second preference votes.
The party was in second place in not just Rotherham but in Barnsley and Doncaster too - but not Sheffield, where the Conservatives were pipped to the post.
Coun Clarkson said of losing out: “That’s politics, one minute you are up, one minute you are down, but for today the main issue here in South Yorkshire is that it is pushing the party forward.”
Meanwhile messages of congratulations and good luck came in for Rev Dr Billings, former deputy leader of Sheffield Council.
Charity Victim Support said it was ‘looking forward’ to working with him to help crime victims.
Greater Manchester’s PCC Tony Lloyd said: “Alan brings both credibility and competence to the role of PCC, and will ensure he is accountable to the people of South Yorkshire.”
Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for environment at Sheffield Council, said: “We need someone with integrity to get deep in to the police and sort a large number of problems out.
“I think the very low turnout has shown that these commissioner roles aren’t working and should be scrapped.
“In the meantime the result sends a clear message that South Yorkshire wants to move forward together.”
Acting PCC Steve Pick, who will remain in place until Monday, said it had been a ‘privilege’ and added his congratulations.
The full breakdown of votes is below:
Labour – 32,867 votes
Conservative – 17,198
UKIP – 14,666
English Democrats – 2,937
Rejected votes – 1,091
Labour – 15,006
UKIP – 14,228
Conservative – 3,936
English Democrats – 2,044
Rejected – 481
Labour – 10,877
UKIP – 6.609
Conservative – 2,672
English Democrats – 1,288
Rejected – 355
Labour – 15,310
UKIP – 11,380
Conservative – 4,730
English Democrats – 2,314
Rejected votes – 372