Wiltshire PCC election: Conservative Angus Macpherson wins
- 16 November 2012
- From the section Wiltshire
Conservative Angus Macpherson has been chosen as Wiltshire's police and crime commissioner (PCC) in the first result to come in after Thursday's elections.
He beat Labour's Clare Moody after second preference votes were counted as neither managed to get 50% of votes.
The result comes amid a low turnout with figures showing that only 81,477 ballots were cast out of 520,000 registered voters - less than 16%.
Wiltshire was the only force area where an overnight count was held.
Mr Macpherson received 28,558 (36%) of first round votes while Ms Moody received 16,198.
When second preference votes were counted, he was elected with a total of 35,319 votes, compared with Ms Moody's 21,157 votes.
'Lessons to learn'
The returning officer for Wiltshire, Stephen Taylor, said they would need to look at why so few people turned out to vote.
"It would be good to have some analysis afterwards and see whether there's any lessons to be learnt. It is a new system," Mr Taylor said.
"I think people have emailed and contacted us saying that they didn't know enough about the candidates. That's something which I've got no control over."
Despite the low turnout, Mr Macpherson said it was a legitimate result.
"It's not so much a mandate, it's more, in the Wiltshire situation, a large job interview," he said.
"Now, of course it would be much better if more people had gone out to vote and I think it's incumbent on all police commissioners as we all take office to actually develop this job and let people know what it is."
Other candidates for the Wiltshire PCC job have also spoken about the low turnout.
Mrs Moody said: "The government did not allow us as candidates - and it's immensely frustrating as a candidate - enough of an opportunity to talk to the electorate."
Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Batchelor said: "[It was] David Cameron's big idea about localism and he should have pushed it a lot further, a lot harder and a lot stronger."
PCCs will take over from the police authority and be responsible for controlling the budget and setting police priorities.
They will also have the power to hire and fire chief constables, but will not be involved in the operational side of the force.
Wiltshire chief constable Pat Geenty congratulated Mr Macpherson on his appointment, adding it was an "excellent force" with dedicated and hard-working officers.
"The aim for Wiltshire Police remains one of reducing crime and anti social behaviour and keeping it one of the safest counties in the country," he said.
"I look forward to working alongside Angus Macpherson, when he takes up office on 22 November, to shape a programme of work to help enable him to deliver his manifesto and priorities, as we continue to protect the public of Wiltshire and Swindon."
Mr Macpherson - who will be paid a salary of £70,000 a year - has previously served as a borough councillor in Swindon and as a member of the police authority. He is also a trustee of several Wiltshire charities.
His election pledges were to help reduce crime and reoffending and to improve efficiency.
He said: "The first thing is to write a police and crime plan and to do that you've really got to get out and listen to people.
"The challenge of the job is magnificent. This is a blank canvas, no-one has done it before."
One of his main tasks will be to help improve morale in the force. A survey by the Wiltshire Police Federation in August showed a 12% decline in morale, with officers believing there was a lack of manpower to get the job done.
The survey, which was completed by 60% of staff, also showed falling confidence in police leadership.
Counting in the election got under way at Oasis Leisure Centre in the city after polls closed at 22:00 GMT on Thursday.
In Swindon, 15% of eligible people voted, in Devizes 10% cast ballots, while the turnout in both Trowbridge and Chippenham was 11%.
The total turnout figure is higher than the averages of individual constituencies as the overall figure includes postal votes.
Six candidates stood in the Wiltshire police elections: Liberal Democrat Paul Batchelor, Conservative Angus Macpherson, Labour's Clare Moody, UKIP's John Short, Independent Liam Silcocks and Colin Skelton, also an Independent.
Election officers from Swindon Borough Council organised the count and oversaw proceedings.