Ex-RAF chief Sir Clive Loader wins Leicestershire and Rutland PCC election - after 16% turnout
Former senior RAF chief Sir Clive Loader last night won the race to become Leicestershire and Rutland's first elected police and crime commissioner.
However, just 16 per cent, or 127,082, of those eligible to vote took part in Thursday's poll – one of the lowest turnouts ever seen in the two counties, mirroring the national trend.
Sir Clive, the Conservative candidate, was backed by 64,661 voters. The recently retired air chief marshal will now hold the force to account on its performance in fighting crime and feed back public concerns to senior officers. He will also work with the force to implement savings worth millions of pounds as a result of Government public spending cuts.
Speaking at Whitwick's Hermitage Leisure Centre, where he was declared the winner last night, Sir Clive said: "I'm delighted and really touched by the trust shown by the people who have voted for me.
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"I will work for the people who did not vote for me and for the people who did not vote at all. The turnout is low. Would I have preferred more than 16 per cent of people to have voted? Yes, of course.
"But that will not make a jot of difference to the gusto and enthusiasm I will bring to the job."
Labour candidate, Leicester assistant mayor Sarah Russell, won 51,835 votes.
She said: "I'm tired but proud of the campaign we have run. All three candidates have fought good, positive campaigns. Clive is going to have a difficult task to convince people of the need for PCCs and be careful not to run away with big changes because there is such a small mandate."
Independent candidate Suleman Nagdi, who won 21,744 votes, said: "I'm sure people in the city and county have chosen the best person for the job.
"I am saddened though by the small turnout. The right to vote is to be cherished and what we have in this country is envied in some parts of the world.
"There has been apathy but there has also been widespread confusion about this new role.
"I would urge the Government to consider a more aggressive awareness campaign before the next PCC election."
More than 8,400 ballot papers were rejected because they had either been filled in incorrectly or deliberately "spoiled''.
Dr James Treadwell, a criminologist at the University of Leicester, said: "The vast majority of people have not voted, so you have to ask whether the whole process has been worth the estimated £75 million cost."
Leicestershire's chief constable Simon Cole said: "There are opportunities to continue to drive down crime and anti-social behaviour and I look forward to working with Sir Clive. Counting of the votes began in all nine local districts at midday. Within a few hours, it was announced a total of 127,082 "'first preference'' votes had been cast for the three candidates across the city and county.
But because none of them obtained the 50 per cent of votes required for outright victory, Mr Nagdi was eliminated and his voters' second preference choices were counted.
This gave both Sir Clive Loader and Sarah Russell several thousand extra votes each but did not overturn the lead Sir Clive had from the first round
Mercury Reporter Ciaran Fagan was at the Leicestershire count. Follow updates from the count and views on Twitter as the drama unfolded and views shared by voters and non-voters after the result was announced... (Press F5 to refresh content]