AN election blasted a “shambles” by the winner “failed both candidates and voters”, it has been claimed.
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw criticised the elections in the aftermath of his victory – and now he has been backed up by a scathing report from the Electoral Reform Society.
Today, Mr Grunshaw said the society’s report showed there had been “abysmal failings” and a “catalogue of errors” surrounding November’s elections, which saw just 172,711 votes cast in Lancashire out of a potential 1.5m.
The society’s report showed almost 90 per cent of people in England still did not know who their police and crime commissioner was, and Mr Grunshaw said: “At the time of my election, I described the process as a shambles from start to finish.
“The elections should never have been held in November; that it was a huge waste of much-needed funds to hold the elections as ‘stand-alone’ and that, at the very least, the Home Office should have funded the direct mailing of candidates’ statements to all voters instead of directing people to a website.
“The result was unsurprisingly, the lowest election turnout in peacetime history.”
Among the society’s recommendations is a major election should never be held in winter again, as it discourages people from turning out.
Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “From the start, the PCC elections looked set to be an exercise in how not to run an election.
“The Police and Crime Commissioner vote failed both candidates and voters alike.”
And Peter Gibson, the leader of Wyre Council, said: “It was always going to be a disaster holding elections in November but I think it is right police are democratically held accountable.
“We will have to see if there’s a different level of turn-out and interest in the next elections.”
Mr Grunshaw said in his time in the role engagement with the public had been “excellent”, with roadshows and consultation on his police and crime plan.