'Damp squib' election for top police position fails to enthuse voters
VOTERS in Derby seemingly turned their backs on the county's first Police and Crime Commissioner election yesterday.
At a polling station in the city, one voter called the event "a damp squib," while others complained they were unaware it was taking place.
From noon today, the ballot boxes will be emptied and the count will start for the £75,000-a-year position.
Whichever of the four candidates in Derbyshire is successful will oversee the work of the constabulary.
He will have powers which include hiring and firing the Chief Constable and setting the council tax precept.
More than 780,000 Derbyshire residents were eligible to vote and the turnout will be known when the new commissioner is announced, possibly later today.
Yesterday, not one person entered or left the polling station St Augustine's Community Centre, in Almond Street, Derby, between 12.15pm and 12.30pm.
Outside, John Hill, 38, from nearby Crewe Street, said: "I have no idea what this is for.
"It's not voting for council again, is it?
"If it is, I've not had a card through the post or anyone knocking on my door."
Alfie Johnson, of Boyer Street, did decide to vote at his polling station on the same street.
The 36-year-old said: "I don't think the police around here do a good enough job.
"There are people smoking drugs on the street. I see it all the time but things don't seem to get done.
"I voted because I want someone to sort them out."
David Gale, Alan Charles, Rod Hutton and Simon Spencer are the four candidates vying for the commissioner role.
The count will take place at Alfreton Leisure Centre.
Outside the polling station at All Nations for Christ Christian Fellowship, in Walbrook Street, Normanton, Amber Mills said she had no idea the elections were taking place.
The 23-year-old, of Underhill Avenue, said: "I can't remember getting a polling card through the post.
"I've not seen anything about this on TV and no-one has come knocking on my door asking me to vote for them."
Outside her polling station in Stockbrook Street, Natasha Meakin, 40, of Lynton Street, said she had to research all of the candidates herself.
She said: "I wanted to exercise my right to vote but I received no literature through the post from anyone so had to look at each candidates through their websites before deciding who to cast my vote for.
"It's a complete waste of money really, a bit of a damp squib."
The Home Office says the cost of the election nationally is about £75 million.