Election 2016

PCC elections: Tories and Labour crush independents

Counting in the PCC election in Durham
Image caption The Tories and Labour have 33 of the 36 posts so far

The Conservatives and Labour have won almost all of the elections for police and crime commissioners in England and Wales, dealing a blow to independents.

With 36 of the 40 election results having been declared, the Tories have won in 20 of the contests while Labour has 13 victories.

Independents, who were elected to 12 PCC posts in 2012, have just three now.

The four remaining PCC elections, all in Wales, will declare results on Sunday.

Tories won in Kent, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire, Hampshire, Norfolk and West Mercia, which had all gone to independents last time.

Voters in South Yorkshire re-elected Labour's Alan Billings, who has said he will investigate claims that a former police press officer was asked to "spin" news during the Hillsborough inquests.

Hayley Court, who was employed in 2014, said South Yorkshire Police wanted her to encourage the media to report evidence favourable to the police case.

Hire and fire

Turnout in the PCC elections was 25.2%, a substantial rise on the 15.1% recorded in 2012, which was the lowest recorded level of participation at a peacetime non-government election in Britain.

Home Secretary Theresa May had urged voters to take part, saying PCCs "have the power to hire and fire chief constables, control the police force's multimillion pound budget, and set local priorities for policing and crime".

Mrs May has also suggested that PCCs could in future help set up free schools to support children who might otherwise fall into crime.

They may also have a role in youth justice and probation, she has said.

A recent poll for the Electoral Reform Society found that nearly nine in 10 people could not name their local PCC.

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