AN APATHETIC electorate angered by a lack of information could lead to a turnout of less than 20 per cent at next week's PCC elections a Stafford councillor has warned.
Stafford Borough Councillor Ian Hollinshead, said he feared a lack of information and poor timing could see as few as 10 per cent turning out to vote in the first Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner election, which sees Stoke on Trent City Councillor, Joy Garner of the Labour Party take on Matthew Ellis, a Conservative County Councillor.
“I don't even think the turnout will be as high as 20 per cent," said Councillor Hollinshead. "I think it could be a lot lower than that.
“I was out knocking on doors on Saturday around the Stafford area and people were asking me 'Do you know anything about this PCC thing?
“People are largely unaware of who the candidates are and what they stand for," he said. "This election has been dumbed down and given as little coverage as possible.
"People don't realise the importance of the outcome."
Chair of the Town Centre Partnership and managing partner of The Lewis Partnership Chris Lewis said people needed to take 'more civic pride' and responsibility for what happens locally.
"They should be aware what is about to happen and how it will effect them," he said. "I might be asking all the wrong people, but the total lack of knowledge of the forthcoming election is very worrying.
"We are about to make a major change to the way we manage policing and I would go as far as to say most people are very apathetic about it."
He said the police were a 'bastion of our society' upon which people depend in a time of need and added that he hoped people would be convinced to use their votes next week.
Stafford Borough Councillor for the Forebridge ward, Chris Barron, said people she had spoken to had heard about the election but were didn't have enough data to make an informed decision.
"Many people I've spoken to have heard of the proposal but know nothing about how it will run within the force, what effect will there be on serving officers, how the commissioner will protect society against criminals and what the ultimate cost of running such an office, bearing in mind staff costs, would be.
"Nor do people know anything about the candidates," she added. ''With all that in mind, how does the government expect communities to make informed decisions on who they vote for or in fact whether they vote at all?"
Stafford Borough Councillor for the Church Eaton ward Barry Stamp said the problem was that the only information that seemed readily availble to the electorate was on the internet.
"People should not be expected to serach the web," he said. "What about those people without a computer?
"The danger is the PCC will be elected by a few part members and not the public.
"I can see turnout being extremely poor."
STAFFORDSHIRE'S electorate took to Twitter to express their anger at the lack of information around the upcoming PCC election.
Got voting papers 4 PPC but @button1001& @MatthewEllis can't be bothered 2 give me any info about themselves not sure we are going to vote.
I'm annoyed there isn't an option on the form to say 'I don't want a PCC'. We should be given that choice too.
@mike_rawlins Do you think the Labour Party deliberately set out not to have enough cash to deliver leaflets to everyone in Staffs?
I am being asked to make a decision on policing and the people who want to take charge can’t even leaflet?
@StaffsNews knew they were on, didnt realise they were doing one for us.
Interest in #Staffordshire #PCC growing. Two events tonight & over 300 people. Long day but good day. Looking forward to bed but long drive
Why is there so little meaningful twitter debate about #PCC in#Staffordshire? Our candidates are @MatthewEllis @button1001
Talking to people about @MatthewEllis in Stone - I find more and more people have heard about the election of Staffordshire's firstPCC.
Disappointed at such limited choice of candidates.
I'm boycotting it as I don't believe in a politicised police force. Those running the service should be neutral.
Honestly couldn't name the candidates. Even an independent would have an agenda though. Shouldn't be a politician in charge!
Is it true they will be paid £70,000 p.a??? actually feel the money could be better spent in the community!
@staffsnews @Howlecom In what way is this important? Why are we even voting for someone's job? It makes no sense.
Turnout will be less than 15%. Such apathy, but not surprising, it's not wanted.
@StaffsNews perhaps people are happy with local police as is and therefore see no reason to jump up and down and vote
@StaffsNews politics should be kept out of policing. Believe whole campaign cost millions of pounds. Money well spent? I fear not. 1/2
@StaffsNews 2/2 especially with the cuts that are going on in police! Don't think I shall vote, plus no real info in first place!
@StaffsNews Not content. Hardly heard anything about it except for the polling card arriving. Not happy that the PCC will be a politician.
@stodgeblog @PhilJenkins86 @StaffsNews think if spoil paper it counts as turn out, had considered that myself
@StaffsNews I emailed both candidates a week ago re. specific issue. Noncommittal response from one, no response from the other.#apathy
@StaffsNews Nope! :) Public participation went out of the window when they stuck a £5k joining fee on. . Plus it's AV which seems odd.
@StaffsNews I'm not content with the info provided with the govt. Think the role will evolve from that tho. @button1001 is my choice.
@StaffsNews to be honest think PCCs will also become additional pawns in the blame game if something goes wrong
@StaffsNews If it's a choice between conservatives & labour would rather have neither! They've both stuffed up in one way or another.
@Rowan_Draper @StaffsNews Not when they represent a political party, particularly the Tories who lie through their teeth.
Won't be voting. Read one flier that just criticised other party. Police or politics? Might stand myself if £70,000!
@Easty1971 @staffsnews went to parents house & not mine.Just stated how bad other party was.Wanted to read about what would bring to job.
@Easty1971 @StaffsNews Unfortunately there are politics involved in PCC but you MUST vote.This is for your Forces future and WILL affect you.
@StaffsNews The lack of info has been terrible but look on internet and make an informed decision. So important.
@StaffsNews I haven't had a card thingy, seen any fliers or anything so goodness knows who's even there! But politics and police don't go!
@StaffsNews Im not entirely sure what its for anymore! I didn't realise it was political, I thought it was a policing role. Not enough info
@StaffsNews Yes-Im luckily in a more fortunate position re info.I know most aren't-really puzzling why candidates been so quiet.
@crispyyumyum @StaffsNews glad I'm not the only one that did this. I've had info through and checked the bbc online for more info.