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Does a low poll matter?

The elections for Police and Crime Commissioners may have averaged about 14.5 percent, a record low.  But does it matter?  It’s a new post, and few people know what its significance might be.  Low polls were also reported in by-elections that took place on the same day.  A significant fact has been the success of independent candidates, often with a police background, who stood without the support of mainstream political parties.

Does it matter?  Probably not.  These are new posts, not understood by many, and the odds are high that once the new PCCs have established the worth and importance of their jobs, the turnout will be higher in future.  The crucial test will be whether it makes a difference to have someone with authority in policing who is answerable to voters, rather than part of a police culture that sees itself as an interest group aloof from the public and anxious to protect its own status and interests. A few high profile disputes in the years ahead could make all the difference.

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