Lowest ever Police Crime Commissioner turnout means each vote 'cost taxpayer £16'

A total of 155,990 people across the region cast their vote to choose a successor to Labour’s Dame Vera Baird.

Friday, 19th July 2019, 15:49 pm
The Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Election count and declaration at Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellness Centre, Silksworth, Sunderland. Picture: Tom Banks

The number of people who voted in Sunderland was 30,160 (14.5 per cent).

In South Tyneside, the figure was 15,1590 (13.2 per cent).

The number in Northumberland was 33,682 (13.7 per cent).

Labour candidate, Kim McGuinness at the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Election count and declaration at Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellness Centre, Silksworth, Sunderland. Picture: Tom Banks

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The vote went to a second preference count between Independent candidate Georgina Hill and Labour's Kim McGuiness who went on to win after Conservative Robbie Moore and The Liberal Democrats' Jonathan Wallace were eliminated in the first round of voting.

Dame Vera announced her departure earlier this year to take up a new nationwide role as Victims’ Commissioner.

She triumphed in commissioner elections in both 2012 and 2016 and won by a majority of 121,766 three years ago.

The overall turnout in 2012 was 16.8 per cent and in 2016 grew to 32.1 per cent, meaning this year’s election is the lowest ever.

Georgina Hill (Independent) at the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Election count and declaration at Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellness Centre, Silksworth, Sunderland. Picture: Tom Banks

Defeated Liberal Democrat candidate Jonathan Wallace said the low turnout proved that the current system was an expensive mess.

He claimed the process has cost the taxpayer £2.5million, which if divided between the 155,990 votes cast would mean that each vote cast cost around £16.

He said: “The whole process has cost £2.5million and it’s Government money which could have been better spent elsewhere.

“I would prefer a return to something like the old system of police authorities.

The Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Election count and declaration at Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellness Centre, Silksworth, Sunderland. Picture: Tom Banks

“To be honest, I am relieved it’s all over and at least I can go back to the stack of jobs I have put on hold such as being a bee keeper.

“I have been stung by the voters and now I’m looking forward to getting stung by my bees although I thank everyone who did vote for me.”