Posted: Fri 13th Mar 2020

Updated: Mon 16th Mar

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner election postponed

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 13th, 2020

May’s Police and Crime Commissioner elections are to be postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Scheduled to take place on May 7, some candidates had already thrown their hats in their ring to challenge Arfon Jones in the elected role designed to hold the Chief Constable of North Wales Police to account.

But ministers today (Friday) announced that the poll would be put back, as well as local and mayoral elections in England, following the Electoral Commission’s request to the UK Government on Thursday.

The decision means that the PCC elections are now likely to take place on the same day as the next Senedd elections on May 6, 2021.

Writing to Michael Gove MP on Thursday,  Bob Posner, the Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission had written: “It has already become clear that the risks are so significant as to raise serious concerns about the polls continuing to their current timetable.

“Although polling day is not until 7 May, preparations for the elections are already well underway and indeed publication of notice of election – which marks the start of the formal timetable – will take place later this month.

He added, “We also anticipate that as a result of the direct and indirect impacts of Covid-19, there will be significant numbers of registered electors who in practice will not have opportunity to vote, or feel inclined to vote.

“While increased access to post and proxy voting may provide a partial solution for some electors, it would create further and additional pressures and risks in other parts of the system.

“Clearly any decisions to delay elections which are due is significant and would not normally be desirable; however, we are in unprecedented times.

“The risks to delivery that have been identified are such that we cannot be confident that voters will be able to participate in the polls safely and confidently, nor that campaigners and parties will be able to put their case to the electorate.”

Welcoming the decision today, he added:  “We welcome and support the UK Government’s decision to postpone the May elections.

“This will allow local authorities to focus their efforts on delivering front line public services and importantly, mitigates risks to voters and campaigners.

“We will work with the wider electoral community to ensure elections in 2021, including these postponed elections, are well run, command public trust and attract high levels of participation.”

By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter

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