Record number of women among candidates contesting PCC and Mayoral elections
A record number of women are bidding to be Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in the elections on May 6.
With the deadline to stand having now past, analysis of the lists of candidates show that in England 30 women are standing in 35 seats, while in the four PCC elections in Wales there are eight female contenders.
In addition, in the three city areas where the Mayor has been given PCC-like powers over policing, ten women will be on ballot papers, including the former Coronation Street actress, Labour MP Tracy Brabin, in West Yorkshire. It adds up to 48 female candidates, almost a quarter of the total.
In the first PCC elections in November 2012, there were 35 female candidates in 41 seats; in the May 2016 poll only 29 women stood, in 40 areas.
The elections - postponed from last year because of the coronavirus outbreak - will see a crop of new PCCs and Mayors voted in, with 17 office holders standing down and tight contests expected in a handful of other seats. West Midlands, Merseyside and Thames Valley are among the forces which are certain to have a new PCC, while seven serving commissioners are aiming for a hat-trick of victories, among them the veteran Labour politician, 77-year-old Alun Michael, the PCC for South Wales.
In all, there are 202 candidates in the elections - 145 in the English PCC seats; 21 in Wales; and 36 in the Mayoral contests. They include dozens of retired police officers and former members of the Armed Forces; a large number of local councillors; several lawyers - and a sweet shop owner.
The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are fielding candidates in every seat, with Reform UK and the Greens among the parties running in selected areas only. Plaid Cymru is contesting all four elections in Wales.
A number of people are standing on an independent ticket, although two of the longest-serving non-affiliated PCCs, Sue Mountstevens in Avon and Somerset and Martyn Underhill in Dorset, are stepping down, leaving Martin Surl, in Gloucestershire, as the only independent PCC to seek a third term in office.
In the 2012 elections, 12 seats were won by independent candidates.
The role of PCCs has expanded since their introduction nine years ago - and is likely to increase further after the elections as a result of a Home Office review.
At present, in each area, PCCs are required to determine their force’s policing priorities, budget and precept (the amount raised for policing via the council tax), and commission victims’ services and crime reduction programmes.
They also have powers to appoint the Chief Constable and, if necessary, dismiss them.
Four PCCs currently have responsibility for fire and rescue services. Ministers are considering plans which would extend such powers to PCCs and Mayors in other areas.
- Visit choosemypcc.org.uk to find out information on the candidates standing for election in your police area. You can also download a PDF booklet of the candidates' details. If you need a physical copy of the booklet delivered to you, or a version in large print, braille or audio, you can request one from choosemypcc.org.uk or by calling 0808 196 2170.