Hertfordshire goes to the polls - but will anyone turn out to vote?

Herts will elect its new policing boss today - but will anybody turn out to vote?

Thursday, 5th May 2016, 4:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th May 2016, 6:07 pm

Four candidates are standing to become Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, a role which involves overseeing policing across the county.

The role was first created in 2012, but turn was only 14.6 per cent then. By comparison, 66.5 per cent of voters cast their votes in Hemel Hempstead at last year’s general election.

Commentators believe that another low turnout could have a long-term impact on the credibility of police commissioners and their ability to do their job.

Mike Smithson, who runs the website PoliticalBetting.com, said: “The PCC elections are an odd fish, and that’s particularly the case in counties like Hertfordshire where there aren’t council elections, or elections for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.

“The big question is over voter turnout, and the indications are that it will be very, very low. It was low four years ago, and while I think it will be higher today that will at least partly be because it’s a sunny May Day rather than the cold November day they had in 2012.

“If the turn out is still pitifully low then it raises questions about the credibility of the role. 20 per cent or lower is a problem. The role of PCC isn’t really accepted by the police, plus there have been instances of the new commissioners running into all sorts of difficulties.”

Mr Smithson added: “You only really know what turnout will be like by going to the polling stations. But the parties all seem to know turnout is going to be low, you don’t see the party machines out canvassing. That tells you a lot.”

Follow Mike Smithson on Twitter at @MSmithsonPB