Poll: 9 in 10 can’t name their Police and Crime Commissioner

ERS-electoral-reform-society

Poll: 9 in 10 can’t name their Police and Crime Commissioner

  • 89% of people say they can’t name their PCC, and of those who said they can, 10% actually can’t, according to new BMG polling for the Electoral Reform Society
  • Just 4% feel well informed about the PCC election – 3% ‘well informed’ and 1% ‘very well informed’

 

Nine in ten members of the public say they can’t name their local Police and Crime Commissioner – and of those who say they can, 10% get it wrong, according to a new BMG Research [1] poll for the Electoral Reform Society.

The figure drops to just 1% when 18-24 year olds are asked if they can name their PCC, and 5% for 25-34 year olds.

The findings are leading the ERS to call on all involved to ‘pull out all the stops in the final count-down to polling day’’ for PCCs, with just 4% feeling well-informed about the election for police chiefs on May 5th.

For England the figure is 11% who can’t name their local crime commissioner – falling to 8% in Wales.

The South West scores the best for knowledge of who the local PCC is, with 17% saying they know who their PCC is, compared to the West Midlands where the figure is just 4%.

7% of people in the South West say they feel well-informed about the PCC election – the highest figure. That drops to just 2% in the East Midlands, East of England, Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

The ERS is calling for ‘concerted action’ to get information out there on PCCs, with under a week to go until polling day.

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“The 2012 PCC election was the lowest turnout for any national election in the UK ever, at just 15%. It would seem that four years after police commissioners were introduced, the public are none the wiser about what they actually do. The fact that just one in ten can name their local PCC is an indictment of the whole approach to these roles and the election.

“There’s clearly a real lack of public engagement in this election and the last – something exacerbated by a total lack of information about the roles and often the candidates, too. In our survey of PCC candidates in 2012 we found that 88% thought public awareness of the election was low, and of these, 62% thought it was very low.

“In some cases the PCC areas cover millions of people – illustrating the problems many candidates have in reaching voters. The West Midlands area covers over two million voters, for example.

“There’s been very little coverage of the election this time, much as last time, and there will be big differences in turnout depending on where there are local elections. The fact that, unlike the November 2012 election, this vote coincides with council elections, will raise turnout – but much more needs to be done to learn the lessons from previous votes. There are just a few days to get the information out and encourage people to vote – so we hope everyone concerned pulls out all the stops to get the public involved in this important vote.

“Even where turnout is higher this time, the fact that just 4% of people feel well-informed about the vote shows that we haven’t had a high quality debate or a decent democratic process.

“There are still big hurdles to encouraging people to turn out to vote – as well as obstacles to candidates from a wide range of backgrounds putting themselves forward.

“A poll conducted by Populus in 2013 showed that only 11% of respondents could correctly name the person elected for their area. With today’s poll showing an almost identical result, it looks like little has changed, and little has been learnt from last time’s disastrous ballot.

“Another poll for the ERS after the election showed that 45% of people who did not vote said they ‘didn’t have enough information about the candidates to make a decision’. That remains a huge problem.

“Although it may be too late now, we need concerted action to make sure the public have all the information they need to decide on who to pick for these important roles.”