CONSERVATIVE Angus Macpherson was announced as Wiltshire’s first ever police and crime commissioner this morning after securing a clear-cut election victory.
Police and crime commissioners are being brought in by the Government to replace police authorities in England and Wales, and will have the power to hire and fire chief constables and set the force’s budget and strategy.
The Wiltshire winner was the first of 41 new commissioners to be announced as it was the only area where counting took place overnight.
Mr Macpherson, who was previously a member of the police authority, received 28,558 first preference votes and 6,761 second preference votes, with Labour’s Clare Moody taking second place with 16,198 first preference votes and 4,959 second preference votes.
The other candidates, in order of first preference votes gained, were independent Colin Skelton with 11,446, Lib Dem Paul Batchelor with 10,130, John Short for UKIP with 7,250 and independent Liam Silcocks with 5,212.
The count took place at five centres across Wiltshire and the final Wiltshire-wide result was announced at the Oasis Leisure Centre just before 5am.
Mr Macpherson said: “I’m very proud to be the first police and crime commissioner for Wiltshire and will do everything I can to make myself the best for the people of Wiltshire. I’m really excited, I think it’s going to be a great thing for the people of Wiltshire.”
Mr Macpherson, a chartered accountant and former councillor who has been a magistrate in Swindon for 20 years, wants to make better use of volunteers, including boosting the number of special constables from less than 200 active members to nearer 350 over a number of years through a recruitment drive.
He also wants to commission Wiltshire’s drug and alcohol services together, rather than in isolation, to provide better value for money and tackle substance abuse more holistically and increase the use of restorative justice.
Only 81,477 people in Wiltshire voted, giving an overall turnout of just 15.83 per cent. There were a total of 2,683 votes rejected.
Referring to the low turnout, Mr MacPherson said: “There are several reasons why people didn't come out to vote - they didn't understand what the job is, they didn't know who the candidates were and couldn't make a judgement.
"And then, depressingly, there were a lot of people while we were out on the street saying 'I don't (vote) for anything'."
"Of course it would be much better if more people had gone out to vote. I believe that I can make a real difference, using my skills and knowledge. I will provide strong leadership, but will not interfere with the day-to-day running of the police. I have seven years' experience in monitoring police performance and a passion for building stronger, inclusive communities.”