SOUTH Yorkshire’s new Police and Crime Commissioner remains defiant he is the right man for the job - despite being elected by only seven per cent of the county’s voters in one of the lowest turnouts in electoral history.
Nearly 93 per cent of South Yorkshire residents either didn’t vote for the winner Shaun Wright or didn’t vote at all in the PCC election.
Of those who did turn out, 4,000 people spoiled their ballot papers.
Mr Wright clinched 51 per cent of the first-preference votes on a 14.93 per cent turnout.
He will now be responsible for overseeing South Yorkshire Police’s budget and crime priorities.
Although around 85 per cent of the local electorate stayed away from the polls, Mr Wright said the result still handed him a clear mandate.
“It’s a very good majority that I’m proud of,” he said.
“The turnout is very disappointing, but we don’t measure mandates by the turnout, we measure them by majorities.
“An awful lot of people didn’t know enough about the roles.
“The Government didn’t fund or promote the elections enough, and called them at the wrong time of the year.”
Mr Wright said one of his first priorities will be to draw up a ‘police and crime plan’ alongside South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David Crompton, as well as looking at how to make £15m of cuts from the force’s budget.
Chf Con Crompton said he was determined to ‘make the system work’.
“It would have been nice if the turnout had been higher, but we need to make the system work now,” he said. “The low turnout is for politicians to decide over.”
Voters were asked to pick two candidates, ranking them in order of preference.
Mr Wright took 74,615 of the first-preference votes, while the English Democrats’ David Allen came second with 22,608 votes.
Conservative Nigel Bonson came third with 21,075 votes, UKIP’s Jonathan Arnott came fourth with 16,773, and the Liberal Democrats’ Robert Teal came last with 10,223.
One ballot box in Doncaster contained only five voting papers.
Sheffield’s branch of the Green Party - which chose not to field a candidate - slammed the election, calling it ‘a shambles’.
Con Rob Murphy, who represents Sheffield Central, said: “I’m proud we have had nothing to do with this.
“It’s expensive, unnecessary and has been a farce. This election has been imposed on voters who have had little access to information to help them vote for a role they do not understand.”
Katie Ghose, from the Electoral Reform Society, said the dismal turnout was a failure of ‘historic proportions’.
“Even in wartime, governments have managed to get more people to the polls with half the population under arms or overseas,” she said.
Mr Wright said: “The jury’s still out on whether these positions will exist come another election, but I hope the public will judge me on my performance over the next three years.”