Skip to main content

Police and Crime Commissioner Elections

Volume 559: debated on Thursday 7 March 2013

4. What assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the effectiveness of its public awareness campaign for the police and crime commissioner elections. (146568)

The Electoral Commission commissioned an independent research study to assess the effectiveness of its public awareness campaign. The results show a significant increase in awareness of the main elements of the campaign, including the date of the election and how to vote. The Electoral Commission will publish its statutory report later this month on the police and crime commissioner elections, which will identify what wider lessons need to be learned.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that answer. The Association of Electoral Administrators, in a highly critical report, has said:

“Voters were not at the heart of the process for the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections”.

It has recommended that the Government should improve public awareness and participation by providing for

“either a candidates’ mailing or the delivery of a booklet…about the…elections and about the candidates to all households.”

Is that an issue that has been considered by the Electoral Commission?

It most certainly is considered. I do not want to prejudge the report, which will be published later this month, but it is well known that the Electoral Commission advised the Government in advance of its concerns about the lack of information about candidates going to voters. I very much hope that before the next police and crime commissioner elections, which are due in 2016, significant lessons will have been learned.

One lesson I have learned is that if senior Members of this House, such as the shadow Home Secretary, are appearing on television screens before an election telling everyone that the election is a waste of time and money, we can hardly be surprised if the electors are not all that interested. Does my hon. Friend agree that if Members of this House are not prepared to stand up to champion democracy, we cannot be surprised if members of the public are not flocking to the polling stations?

I am delighted to say that the Electoral Commission is not responsible for any comments made by the shadow Home Secretary or any other Member of this House.