HAMPSHIRE’S new police and crime commissioner was elected with just over one in 20 of eligible voters picking him for the job.
Independent candidate Simon Hayes beat Tory veteran Michael Mates in a vote that went to a second round for the top two candidates after no-one polled more than 50 per cent.
But the low voter turnout has been greeted with a lack of surprise.
Cllr Adrian Collett is the last chairman of the Hampshire Police Authority that will now be replaced by Mr Hayes on November 22.
He said: ‘I am very angry that the Conservatives in the government refused to allow a freepost leaflet for the candidates.
‘Consequently, everywhere I went people said they didn’t know who the candidates were, didn’t know anything about them, and as a result they wouldn’t vote.
‘I think it was a disgraceful thing to do. What happened was entirely predictable, it has been a mockery.
‘I think the fact that independents have done so well in spite of that shows that people don’t like politics in policing.’
Mr Mates polled 52,616 first choice votes, but because this was less than the 50 per cent needed for an outright win it went to another round, where he only managed 13,188 second choice votes, giving him a total of 65,804.
Mr Hayes polled 47,632 first round votes, but gained 33,037 second choices, meaning he won with a total of 80,669 votes.
But this figure only represents just over five per cent of the total number of registered voters in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
John Apter, the chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file police officers, said: ‘The low turnout comes as no surprise to me. It was a concern for a long time and I think it is unfortunate.
‘The ball is in Simon’s court now to prove the position works.’
After the result was announced, Mr Hayes said: ‘I am humbled by this result and I’m grateful to the public of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight for the trust they have put in me to become their first police and crime commissioner. I will exercise that role, without any fear or favour and considering the whole of the community, be it rural or urban.
‘There’s a great responsibility on those of us who have been elected.’
He added: ‘I want to show the public, to demonstrate to the public who have voted for us, and in particular those that felt that they didn’t wish to cast a vote, that there is a purpose, there is a point in a police and crime commissioner and that we can be a voice in crime and criminal justice.
‘The emphasis must be on reducing and preventing offending. It saves money, it saves victims and it makes our cities a safer place to live and work.’
Mr Hayes is the chairman of Crimestoppers, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, as well as a former chairman of the Hampshire Police Authority.
He is also a director the Perham Trust, a charity that works in rehabilitating addicts and offenders.
After the result Mr Mates refused to comment and sped off in his car with his wife.
The current chief constable of Hampshire backed the new appointment.
Chief Constable Alex Marshall, who is soon to leave Hampshire to become the chief executive officer of the new National College of Policing, said: ‘On behalf of the force, I would like to congratulate Simon Hayes on his election to the role of police and crime commissioner for Hampshire.
‘Hampshire is a successful forward-thinking force which has seen a significant reduction in crime levels across the two counties over the past five years.
‘We look forward to working with Simon Hayes as the new commissioner to continue to build on this success and provide a policing service which meets the needs of our communities.’
Top priority for the newly elected commissioner is set to be the appointment of a new chief constable.
The commissioner takes the reins from Hampshire Police Authority at a time when the force is battling to save up to £55m due to government spending cuts.
Already police stations and front desks are shut, more services are being shared with other forces, redundancies have been made and some officers have not been replaced in a bid to save cash.