This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Official notice of the election (fyi)

8 October 2012 
For immediate release 

Official countdown to Police and Crime Commissioner Elections begins 

The official notice has been published today (8 October) which confirms that on 15 November residents across Thames Valley will have the opportunity to vote for their first ever local Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

Each of the 41 police force areas in England and Wales, outside of London, will directly-elect a Commissioner.The Commissioners will be accountable for how crime is tackled in their police force area. PCCs will aim to ensure that the police deliver an effective and efficient service.

Nominations for the Thames Valley PCC election are now open and completed nomination forms must be submitted to the Police Area Returning Officer (PARO) no later than noon on Friday 19 October. Anyone interested in standing must be aged 18 or over, be registered to vote, have 100 signatures backing their candidacy from people also registered to vote and pay a deposit of £5,000. The deposit will be returned to those candidates who get more than five per cent of the votes cast.

There are some people who cannot stand, such as those who work for the police or one of the local councils, or have ever been convicted of an imprisonable offence, but otherwise the opportunity is there for anyone who would like to take on this important role. The full list of candidates for the election will be published on 23 October, although candidates have until noon on 24 October to withdraw if they wish.

The deadline for people to ensure they are registered to vote at these elections is 31 October. Poll cards will be issued on 22 October to tell electors the date of the election, the hours of poll and where to find their polling stations.

Registered voters who find it difficult to get to a polling station on election day, who are away on holiday on 15 November, or those who simply wish to vote in the comfort of their own home need to get their completed postal vote application form in by 5pm on 31 October.

The Commissioner will be elected using the supplementary voting system. This is the system used in mayoral elections. 

A booklet explaining about the PCC elections and the supplementary vote system will be delivered by the Electoral Commission to every household from 22 October. Other formats including an easy read version will also be available.

Polling stations across Thames Valley will be open from 7am to 10pm on 15 November so that people will be able to express their preferences on the candidates on offer. The count of the votes for each candidate will take place on 16 November.

The Police Area Returning Officer (PARO) is Andrew Grant, Chief Executive of Aylesbury Vale District Council. Mr Grant, who is responsible for the conduct of the election, said: “The election of a PCC on 15 November will be the biggest change in how the police service is structured for many years. To be part of the process to elect a PCC you have to be eligible to vote and the electoral registration office based at your local council must have up-to-date records for you. If you have changed address recently it may be worthwhile checking that your correct address is held so that you can influence the future of policing in Thames Valley. Everyone who is registered to vote will have the opportunity to exercise their vote and have their say.” 

Anyone wishing to stand should contact the PARO Electoral Registration Office on 01296 585807.

There are a number of national websites where more information can be found out about PCC’s, voting arrangement and candidates:

Queries about the arrangements for voting in a particular area of Thames Valley, including how to submit an application for a postal or proxy vote, will be dealt with by the electoral registration office of the relevant local council. These are listed on the Notice of Election.


For interviews, please contact: Andrew Grant, Police Area Returning Officer, 01296 585002

Notes to editors:
There are 16 local returning officers who are responsible for the conduct of the poll in each of the local authority areas across the Thames Valley force area including the counts on 16 November. The outcomes from each of the local counts will be sent to the Police Area Returning Officer, who will deal with the overall calculation and then declare the result of the election. The results will be announced at the Gateway Conference Centre, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, at around 4.30pm on 16 November and will also be published on the website of each local authority in Thames Valley. An invitation to the count and declaration at the Gateway Conference Centre will be sent to the media in due course. 

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