First Police and Crime Commissioner elected


Rachel Roberts

THE FIRST Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales has been elected.

Winston Roddick, Independent candidate, barrister and former senior legal adviser to the assembly, was elected at a count at Deeside College on Friday with a final count of 35,688 votes.

In his election statement, he said: “I will put the needs of the ratepayers at the top of my priorities and work with the Chief Constable, officers and staff to ensure the best possible service. I will reach out and work across North Wales to ensure that the service develops partnerships both inside and outside the criminal justice system.”

Mr Roddick, who grew up in Caernarfon, served as a beat officer in Liverpool before studying law in London and becoming a barrister. He was the Recorder of the Crown Court on the Chester and North Wales circuit and is about to stand down as a judge. He was Wales’s first Counsel General and helped write the first Welsh Language Act. Hobbies include fishing and walking.

Mr Roddick said he believes the most pressing concern for the public is security at home and in public places. He emphasises the need for a visible police presence on the street and opposes closures of police stations in villages and towns. He opposes the idea of privatising the police force.

Speaking to the Leader late last month, he said: “We should leave police work to the men and women who are trained and experienced in the profession. They can do it. They can deliver.”

Disappointing voter turnout figures were revealed as the count got underway to determine the winning candidate.

The total votes cast from a possible 524,252 electorate across North Wales came to 79,906, meaning a turnout average of 15.2%.

ust 13.3% of the electorate voted in Flintshire, with only Wrexham showing an even lower interest in the election with a 12.2% turnout.

Conwy came in at 16%, Denbighshire votes totalled 16.7%, Gwynedd voters made up 17.7%, with Anglesey having the strongest figure at 17.8% of the votes.

The campaign has been plagued by concerns from potential voters about the lack of information available on the candidates. Voter apathy has also been a concern for the election since its inception, and today's figures seem to confirm it. Downing street has also blamed ‘poor media coverage’ for the low turnout.

Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission, said: “The low turnout at the Police and Crime Commissioner elections is a concern for everyone who cares about democracy.

“These were new elections taking place at an unfamiliar time of year, which is why we have made clear at every stage that it would be important to engage effectively with voters.

“The Government took a number of decisions about how to run these elections that we did not agree with. But what is important now is that the right lessons are learnt: we will talk to voters, candidates and Returning Officers to understand what worked and what didn’t. The Commission is going to undertake a thorough review, and we will present our findings to Parliament in early 2013,” she added.


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