Voters will be going to the polls this week as they choose who should become West Yorkshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.
The new Commissioner role is replacing local Police Authorities, scrutinising how forces organise their policing operations and priorities. Whoever gets the job will have responsibility for the policing in Leeds as well as several neighbouring parishes and communities.
There are four candidates standing in West Yorkshire; Mark Burns-Williamson (Labour), Geraldine Carter (Conservative), Cedric Christie (Independent) and Andrew Marchington (Liberal Democrat).
They will be elected for four years terms, under a voting system called Supplementary Voting. This means that in addition to your first choice, as under the first past the post system used to elect MPs, you will have the option of picking a second preference. After the round of first choice votes all but the top two candidates will be eliminated. The second preference votes of those who voted for eliminated candidates will then be added to the top two candidates’ totals to find a winner.
Ben Fisher, Leeds University Union’s Communities officer, told Leeds Student why it is important for people to get down to the polling stations on Thursday:
“The Police and Crime Commissioner will decide where money goes and the overall strategy for policing in West Yorkshire. Every candidate has different priorities, which is why voting is so important – you need to vote to make sure your concerns are heard.”
He added that you can find out more information about the candidates via choosemypcc.org.uk/candidates/area/west-yorkshire
Polling stations will open on Thursday November 15 at 7am and will close at 10pm. Students who have not yet registered will not be able to vote, but some landlords and most halls of residences automatically register students to vote. You can check by calling 0113 222 4411, or visit www.leeds.gov.uk/elections for more information and to find out where your nearest polling station is located.