Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

Image thanks to Harrogate Informer

Following the resignation of the previous Commissioner, there was a By-Election on Thursday 25 November 2021 for the position of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for the North Yorkshire Police area. You may remember that the previous occupant of the position Philip Allott, resigned after losing a vote of no confidence in his leadership following a backlash over comments he made about Sarah Everard. 

In a radio interview he said that that Ms Everard should not have submitted to her ‘false arrest’ by serving police officer Wayne Couzens, who used his warrant card to falsely arrest her before kidnapping, raping and murdering her.

What I wanted to talk about was not Mr Allott but rather the ‘election’ that followed. 

The fist count was as follows:

Total number of ballot papers verified were 86973, with an electorate of 623821 giving a turnout of a pitiful 13.94%.

At the first count, no candidate received more than 50% of the valid first preference votes cast in the election. The contest therefore proceeded to the counting of second preference votes, with Zoe Estelle Appleton-Metcalfe and Emma Nicole Scott-Spivey remaining in the contest.

Second preference votes were:

Which resulted in a final tally of:

Zoe Estelle Appleton-Metcalfe was duly elected as the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for the North Yorkshire Police Area. I wish her the best of luck and am casting no aspersions over her election or her policies.

What is clear though is that the people did not vote for democracy. Appleton-Metcalfe was elected with the approval of 5.11% of the electorate on first votes. Even with second votes counted this rises to a woeful 6.70%. How any politician, irrespective of their policies and beliefs, can claim to represent an electorate when about one in twenty people voted for them is beyond me and any reasonable definition of democracy.

There is something seriously wrong with our electoral system. Either the people don’t care, or don’t believe in the PFCC. Either is very worrying and the government should be addressing low turnout. 

No taxation without representation was the political slogan of the American Revolution. 86% of the people of North Yorkshire have paid their taxes for something that cannot be called representation.

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