Commissioner fails to make public mark

The police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, ''Simon Hayes
The police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, ''Simon Hayes
Police are investigating three incidents in Southsea and Eastleigh. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

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ONLY one in ten people across the country can name their local Police and Crime Commissioner.

The data, issued by the Electoral Reform Society, showed that despite being in power for four months, the commissioners are not making an impact on the public.

These numbers come after November’s Police and Crime Commissioner vote which saw the lowest turnout of electorates in British peacetime history – only 15 per cent.

A similar survey was done in Commercial Road, North End high street and Cosham high street.

Out of a total of 54 people asked, only three could name the Portsmouth’s Commissioner, Simon Hayes.

More than half could name the basic roles of the Commissioner job which include being a voice for the community and ensuring policing needs are met.

But they didn’t know how they could find out what he was doing for the city.

Margaret Newton, from Highgrove Road, Baffins, Portsmouth said: ‘I know he has a job to oversee the other officers and communicate the budget and what we need as a community but no more than that.

‘I don’t even know where his office is.’

A lot of the people also admitted that they didn’t vote because they were unsure as to what the candidates stood for.

Dave Jarret, 24, of Cosham, said: ‘It’s quite shocking that nine out of ten people don’t know who he is.

‘I admit I don’t, but it makes me feel better than eight other people don’t either.’

The report also revealed major criticisms of the election, one of which was that public awareness was low.

Many did not know when the vote was taking place or who the candidates were. This discouraged people to vote as they thought it was a waste of time.

Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: ‘This was a flagship policy designed to reconnect the public and the police.

‘Yet, after spending £75m, nearly 90 per cent of Britons have no idea who their elected Police and Crime Commissioner is.

‘Government mismanagement has handed our elected Commissioners a poisoned chalice, and it remains unclear how they can overcome it.’