Hertfordshire elects second-ever Police and Crime Commissioner as Conservatives win again

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He said he wanted to continue the good work of his predecessor

Jonathan Ash-Edwards has become Hertfordshire’s second-ever police and crime commissioner (PCC).

The Conservative Party’s winning streak remains unbroken in the county, after the poll on Thursday (2 May).

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David Lloyd has held the role since it was established in 2012.

Jonathan Ash-Edwards. Credit: Will Durrant/LDRSJonathan Ash-Edwards. Credit: Will Durrant/LDRS
Jonathan Ash-Edwards. Credit: Will Durrant/LDRS

After the count at Laura Trott Leisure Centre, Cheshunt, Mr Ash-Edwards said: “It’s a really good result for the Conservatives in Hertfordshire and I think it’s because we have had a really clear message – more police, safer streets, action on crime.

“I think people have responded to that. That’s been really good. I think we’ve seen that across the country, where Conservatives have done well, it’s because they have a really clear offer to people.

“We’ve already got more police officers in Hertfordshire than we’ve ever had before as a result of the work that my predecessor has done and as a result of the government’s uplift programme.”

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According to Home Office figures, around 2,083 officers were employed in frontline roles across the county on 31 March last year, up from 1,891 in 2010 and 1,667 in 2015.

Sean Prendergast at the North Herts Council election count 2024. Credit Will Durrant/LDRSSean Prendergast at the North Herts Council election count 2024. Credit Will Durrant/LDRS
Sean Prendergast at the North Herts Council election count 2024. Credit Will Durrant/LDRS

“I know people want to see more visibility, more responsiveness, and that’s what I’m going to be working with the chief constable to deliver,” Mr Ash-Edwards added.

“The whole point of police and commissioner roles is to ensure that local people, through the PCC, are able to influence the policing priorities in their local area. I think it’s really important that that is what we allow to happen and that we don’t have too much Whitehall meddling in that.

“The point of the PCC role is that people can hold me accountable at the ballot box in four years’ time.There are some challenges for policing at the moment and everyone’s got their role to play in backing the police on the frontline, who run towards danger when everyone else is running away.

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“It’s really important that government, that PCCs back the men and women on the frontline to go after criminals and keep people safe.”

Mr Ash-Edwards, who was leader of Haywards Heath-based Mid Sussex District Council between 2019 and 2023, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I know there things that people want us to go even further on in Hertfordshire.

“People have raised burglaries during the campaign.

“Burglaries are low, but people want more action to tackle burglaries.

“I think it’s about making sure we are responsive to what people want to see, but we’re starting from a good place.

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“David Lloyd has left a good legacy – more police, one of the safest places in the country, and one of the lowest policing [council tax] precepts in the country as well.

“There are some really good foundations to build on.”

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Less than one-third of Hertfordshire’s electorate took part, but Mr Ash-Edwards won it with one of the highest turnouts in the East of England – 29.3 per cent.

This is down from just under 37 per cent in 2021.

In part of the region, voter turnout in 2024 fell below 20 per cent – in nextdoor Bedfordshire.

Mr Ash-Edwards received 93,658 votes.

The Liberal Democrats’ Councillor Sean Prendergast received 68,264 votes, against 66,585 for the Labour Party’s Councillor Tom Plater and 26,714 for the Green Party’s Councillor Matt Fisher.

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The Conservatives’ headroom over the Liberal Democrats was much smaller than it was in 2021, when Mr Lloyd finished 67,590 votes ahead of second-place Sam North.

“We ran a really good campaign,” said Councillor Prendergast.

“We did come second. The Tories had a really strong majority and they’ve dropped 12 percentage points this time. That provides us with a really exciting opportunity for next time.

“We’ve had really strong results in certain pockets, such as St Albans, Dacorum and Watford, so there’s lots to build on in certain parts of Hertfordshire.”

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Councillor Prendergast said: “There needs to be a strong focus and emphasis on community and neighbourhood policing.”

He added: “It’s absolutely essential in preventing crime. It’s an opportunity to build strong relationships with communities.”

Councillor Tom Plater said: “Our [party] focused really heavily on rural crime, violence against women and girls, and antisocial behaviour.

“I’m going to be keeping Jonathan’s feet to the fire on all of those issues because I think it’s really important that the PCC is the voice of the people to the police.”

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Councillor Matt Fisher said he would like to see Hertfordshire Constabulary’s priorities go “back to basics – neighbourhood policing, presence, visibility and collaboration, connecting with all of the residents and understanding what all of their woes are.”