On 15 November 2012, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will be elected for the first time across England and Wales. One PCC will be elected for each police force area, with the exception of those in London.
The deadline to register to vote is Wednesday 31 October.
They will be responsible for setting crime and policing priorities and setting out plans for crime reduction and community safety across their police force area.
This is part of the coalition government’s localism agenda, which aims to devolve more decision-making powers to locally elected officials.
Why does it matter?
PCCs will have a huge amount of power and the way in which they choose to use it will have a very real effect on students and the communities in which they live, from anti-social behaviour, to street lighting to substance misuse.
It is vital that candidates are made aware that they cannot ignore students and young people and that they will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions. Given that PCCs are likely to be presiding over diminishing budgets, students need to speak out for the range of services they rely upon.
According to the Electoral Reform Society, voter turnout for the PCC elections is projected to be the lowest of modern times, with just 18.5% of the population expected to turn out to vote.
This means that candidates with little local support could be given power to do things which will have a drastic impact on the local community.
For example, candidates with more extremist views who would not normally figure in other elections may have a stronger chance of electoral success in the PCC elections due to lower voter numbers. By turning out to vote, students can help to set the agenda in their local area.
How do I register to vote?
You are eligible to vote if you are a British citizen, or an Irish, Commonwealth or European Union citizen who is resident in the UK, and will be 18 or over on 15 November. To find out more about how to vote and to make sure you’re registered, visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk
The deadline for registration to be eligible in time for the PCC elections is the 31 October – make sure you leave time to return the form to your local electoral registration office.
How can I find out more?
For more information on the elections and to find out who your local candidates are, visit www.choosemypcc.org.uk
You can also find out which of your local candidates have signed up to the Youth Charter for PCCs, agreeing to take young people’s views into account, online here
We have pulled together a document that contains some key issues to consider, along with some handy hints and tips on how you can act now in your unions. The issues include:
stop and search
your right to protest
young people and ASBOs
no place for hate
preventing violent extremism
Download this document.