THE newly elected police and crime commissioner has insisted he has the mandate of the people for the £85,000 role – despite the worst turn out for any poll in Hampshire’s history.
Just one in ten people in parts of Hampshire voted for triumphant independent candidate Simon Hayes, who blamed poor Government publicity and the winter timing of the poll.
He said: “I think it’s disappointing and disturbing that people were not aware of the election taking place and were not aware of the influence of the role.
“There is now a great responsibility to show those who did not vote that the role of the police and crime commissioner has value to them.”
Mr Hayes said his main mission when he starts work next week would be to cut Hampshire’s high reoffending rate which is currently 75 per cent.
The turnout was even worse than the pessimistic predictions on the eve of the election, which had forecast that fewer than one in five people would cast their vote.
The Electoral Commission last night described the national turnout of 15 per cent as “a concern for everyone who cares about democracy”.
But areas such as Gosport saw as few as 11 per cent turning out. Only 13 per cent of people in Southampton voted.
The highest turnout in Hampshire was in Winchester, with 20.2 per cent. Elsewhere, Test Valley clocked up a 17.9 per cent turnout and the New Forest managed 16.3 per cent. Just 16.2 per cent of Eastleigh residents cast their vote, while Fareham saw a turnout of 14.7 per cent.
Mr Hayes, who is chairman of Crimestoppers Hampshire, is a former chairman of Hampshire Police Authority and also an ex-Tory leader of New Forest District Council. During the campaign he defended himself against accusations he had only left the party in 2011 and not in 2006 as he had said.
He said he had nothing to hide over his past links and said he was a true independent with no support from the party.
Mr Hayes said: “When we started this, we had no real anticipation that we would get this far. The expectation was we wouldn’t win but we thought it was important to give the electors of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight a chance to vote for an independent candidate.”
He beat Conservative contender Michael Mates by about 15,000 votes. Labour’s Jacqui Rayment, UKIP’s Stephen West, Liberal Democrat David Goodall and Don Jerrard from the Justice and Anti-Corruption party were eliminated after first preference votes were counted.
When the second preferences of the defeated candidates were added Mr Hayes overturned a deficit to end with 80,669 to Mr Mates’s 65,804.
After thanking his electorate team, Mr Mates left the Civic Centre where the result had been announced yesterday, refusing to comment.
Chief Constable Alex Marshall said: “On behalf of the force, I would like to congratulate Simon Hayes on his election to the role of Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire.
“Hampshire is a successful forward-thinking force which has seen a significant reduction in crime levels across the two counties over the past five years.”