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.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Was that (almost) a general election?

All of the police and crime commissioner elections have been counted, including the mega one for the capital city. The only exceptions being Northern Ireland and Greater Manchester (for different but special reasons).

In other words, while everyone has been poring over the local government elections, looking for indications as to how the results transfer onto the national scene, almost everyone appears to have forgotten the PCC elections that happened across the England and Wales. We have a great deal of useful data here that gives an indication of how national parties are fairing in the eyes of the electorate now and in comparison to four years ago.

Over the course of a few furrowed hours, I have pulled together this spreadsheet of data provided by Policing Insight which seeks to analyse the Conservative/Labour dimension of the PCC elections. I am not an expert psephologist and it is also quite possible that there are one or two glitches in the data (please email me if you spot one: thanks). I have only used first preference figures, as these most closely mirror voting in a general election. And of course, it should go without saying that PCC elections are odd beasts, although given the results of last week, I think they are becoming less odd...

But here are some conclusions I can draw:

In 2012, the Labour share of all the PCC (including London Mayor) votes was 33.92%. The Conservative share was 33.14%. Note the Conservative share was only slightly less that the Labour one. Perhaps in hindsight this was a portent to the general election result in 2015?

What about now? The Conservative share is down to 30.59%, a drop of over 2.5%. The Labour share on the other hand is up to 36.64%, a gain of over 2.5%. The gap between the two is now running at over 6%.

Interesting huh?

It is also worth noting that in the 41 PCC elections contested, 25 Labour and 25 Conservative candidates increased their share of the vote between 2012 and 2016.

There are now 20 Conservative PCCs, 2 Plaid Cymru, 3 Independent and 17 Labour (including Greater Manchester). Interestingly the number of votes cast last week overall for Labour and Conservative were 1,148,716 and 909,715 respectively. So nearly a quarter of a million more votes for Labour but four fewer PCCs.

Much more will be written about the PCC elections I am sure: including why only three independent PCCs survived and only in the South West. And how will the new make-up of the collective body of PCCs change matters in the future.

I watch this space.


  1. Anonymous10/5/16 13:26

    The 2016 elections were held in conjunction with local council elections in metropolitan boroughs (ie Merseyside, Tyne & Wear, West & South Yorkshire and West Midlands) and many urban unitary authorities, but not in most rural districts. I don't have a spreadsheet but a brief review of the results shows higher turnout where the PCC election was combined with local council elections, and lower turnout where not. This compares with 2012 when of course the PCC poll stood alone.

    This differential turnout most probably accounts for the Conservatives losing Humberside (Hull and Grimsby with local elections, the rural part without) and Cheshire (Warrington and Halton with, the rural part without) - while at the same time gaining Bedfordshire where there were no local elections at all.

  2. Dear Anon - PCC elections happened in ~all~ parts of England & Wales except Greater Manchester. There was a higher turnout than 2012 PCC elections in pretty well all places - and (true) even higher when there was a local council election as well. The turnout was higher in Bedfordshire was it not? So I am not sure what conclusion you are seeking to draw...