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Commissioner vows to reduce reoffending
10:27am Friday 23rd November 2012 in News
Today (Friday) will be the first day in office for Hampshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Hayes.
The Independent candidate was elected last week ahead of former Tory minister, Michael Mates.
After the first preference votes were counted, Mr Mates topped the poll with 52,616 votes, 5,000 ahead of Mr Hayes.
However, when second preferences were counted, Mr Hayes streaked ahead to 80,6669 votes, almost 15,000 ahead of hs Conservative rival.
After thanking his electorate team, Mr Mates, 78, stormed out of the count at Southampton Civic Centre, refusing to comment.
Mr Hayes has insisted he has the mandate of the people for the £85,000 role – despite the worst turn out for any poll in Hampshire’s history.
Fewer than 15 per cent of the electorate voted and that figure dropped below 10 per cent in some areas, but in Test Valley, it was 17.9 per cent.
The turnout was even worse than the pessimistic predictions on the eve of the election, which had forecast that fewer than one in five people would vote.
The Electoral Commission described the national turnout of 15 per cent as “a concern for everyone who cares about democracy”.
The former chairman of the Crimestoppers charity blamed poor government publicity and the November timing of the poll. He said: “I think it’s disappointing and disturbing that people were not aware of the election taking place and were not aware of the influence of the role.
“There is now a great responsibility to show those who did not vote that the role of the police and crime commissioner has value to them.”
Mr Hayes said his main mission would be to reduce Hampshire’s high reoffending rate, which is currently 75 per cent.
Mr Hayes is a former chairman of Hampshire Police Authority and also an ex-Tory leader of New Forest District Council. During the campaign, he defended himself against accusations he had only left the party in 2011 and not in 2006, as he had said.
Mr Hayes said he had nothing to hide over his past links and said he was a true independent, with no support from the party.
He said: “When we started this, we had no real anticipation that we would get this far. The expectation was we wouldn’t win, but we thought it was important to give the electors of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight a chance to vote for an independent candidate.”
One of Mr Hayes’s first jobs will be to find a successor for Chief Constable Alex Marshall.