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Only 10 per cent of public know who their police boss is

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 26, 2013

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Tony Hogg

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Just one-in-ten people can name the new US-style police commissioner for their area, a poll has revealed.

The survey was carried out by the Electoral Reform Society, which said November's elections for police and crime commissioners (PCCs) in 41 force areas "failed both candidates and voters alike".

But Tony Hogg, Devon and Cornwall commissioner, said public awareness of the policing figurehead would "increase rapidly" when people "see the impact they make".

The advent of commissioners, which have the power to set force budgets and even hire and fire chief constables, was marred by a record-low turnout with only around one in seven bothering to go to the ballot box.

In its report, the Electoral Reform Society described November's poll as "an exercise in how not to run an election".

The campaign group claimed people were "left in the dark about who they could vote for", while the turnout was reduced because the election was held in the winter.

Mr Hogg is currently pushing for funds to keep more bobbies on the beat in the force area. The force has shrunk from 3,500 to 3,100 officers since Government cuts were imposed two years ago, and it had been forecast that numbers would decline even further by 2016, to just over 2,800.

But Mr Hogg has proposed a 2% council tax hike to maintain police officer numbers at more than 3,000.

Mr Hogg, who is close to being in the post for 100 days, said: "I understand that, after the relatively low electoral turnout, it will take a little time for PCCs to be instantly recognisable.

"In Devon and Cornwall, I have already embarked on a major programme of public engagement events, and this will increase into the summer now that important decisions about policing plan, budgets and the appointment of a new Chief Constable have been made. I have already met a considerable number of local people to explain what the PCC role is all about and listen carefully to their policing opinions and ideas. I'm looking forward to continuing that."

He added: "I really believe that the perception of Police and Crime Commissioners will increase rapidly when people see the impact they make."

But Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said Home Secretary Theresa May had pledged that commissioners would be "somebody you've heard of" after criticising "invisible" police authorities.

"But it turns out, after spending over £100 million on an unpopular policy, 90% of people don't know who their police and crime commissioner is," she added.

A Home Office spokesman said: "That number will only grow in the future as people see the real impact PCCs are already making in their areas, delivering on public priorities in tackling crime."

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10 comments

  • Doitdreckley  |  February 26 2013, 9:38PM

    Double the percent who voted for him

    |   5
  • nickthompson  |  February 26 2013, 6:34PM

    "People have no idea who Tony Hogg is" They ought to, they are paying this fat cat 85 grand a year

    |   8
  • nickthompson  |  February 26 2013, 6:33PM

    "People have no idea who Tony Hogg is" They ought to, they are paying this fat cat 85 grand a year

    |   3
  • Mansands  |  February 26 2013, 3:52PM

    It's the bloke walking in circles because his wallet is giving him a list!

  • Jungle_Jim  |  February 26 2013, 12:34PM

    As the song goes - " I am the one in ten" Having a police force 'run' by an individual with political motives is a dangerous thing

    |   18
  • ziggyblue  |  February 26 2013, 12:16PM

    The country didn´t want or need Police Commisioners in the first place. Putting them in place has been a costly exercise especially as so many Chief Constables resigned thereby having to be replaced. We need more Police Officers not Police Commisioners.

    |   13
  • MrMikeHunt  |  February 26 2013, 11:57AM

    Ironically of course, Labour's big name Police Commissioner, ex deputy prime minister John Presscot, was not elected when he stood for the post in Hull, his home town. It looks as though Labour are as far away from public opinion as usual.

    |   -12
  • Exeter007  |  February 26 2013, 11:31AM

    I don't want politicians running the police force, it stinks!

    |   11
  • nicold  |  February 26 2013, 10:37AM

    I bet less than 1 in 10 people knew who was running the police before the commissioner!

    |   10
  • MrMikeHunt  |  February 26 2013, 9:21AM

    The Press ran an active 'Don't vote' campaign. They then complained when these people were democratically elected with a low turn out. The press who make sure that your local do nothing all day long celebraty is plastered all over your newspaper have got the hump. People are not listening to them and choosing the internet. I bet if you asked who 'Boss Hogg' was most people would know, particularily those cotton pickin no good bo and luke duke high tailers, yeehar.

    |   -12

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