To say that the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections are the lesser of the votes taking place in Wales in the next couple of months is a considerable understatement. Nevertheless, the election for the Dyfed-Powys police area is looking more than capable of producing what may be quite a surprise to many people, in the shape of a win for Plaid Cymru’s Dafydd Llywelyn (pictured).
First, lets recap on the brief, sorry history of PCC elections. In 2012, the first PCC elections were brought in by the Conservative/Lib Dem government, to be greeted with first opposition and then utter apathy on election day.
Only two candidates stood in Dyfed-Powys - Christopher Salmon for the Conservatives and Christine Gwyther for Labour. Other parties either consciously chose not to stand, like Plaid, or just didn’t get it together. Many actively pushed for a boycott or the spoiling of ballots. The result was a turnout of just 17%, with the Tories winning by a margin much narrower than the number of spoilt papers. More of the story of the PCC is elections can be found on this excellent blog by Cneifiwr.
The difference this time is that the PCC elections are being held on the same day as the National Assembly elections on May 5th. We can therefore reasonably expect a turnout of about the same as these, usually between 40-45%. Coupled with the fact that five parties are actually putting up PCC candidates this time, that makes it a completely different election.
There are no opinion polls for Dyfed-Powys so the first place to start looking at how we might expect things to go is to add up the voting figures in the area from the last Assembly elections. By putting together the votes for each party across the seven constituencies comprising the Dyfed-Powys area at the last Assembly elections in 2011 we come up with this:
Plaid Cymru 51,901
Lib Dem 32,215
UKIP and an Independent are also standing in this PCC election, but not the Greens.
Based on these voting figures, it’s very clear who the two frontrunning parties are, the difference between them in the area last time being just 475. The possibility of a Plaid win is enhanced by the latest all-Wales opinion poll, showing Plaid moving into second place ahead of the Tories.
Dafydd Llewelyn is a criminology lecturer at Aberystwyth University and before that was the Principal Crime and Intelligence Analyst for Dyfed Powys Police, managing a team of analysts and researchers. So he’s certainly the best-qualified of all the candidates, even, I suspect, the bloke who actually been doing the job since 2012, the Conservative Christopher Salmon.
All the Plaid PCC candidates are standing on a manifesto of:
1. Strong neighbourhood policing teams that will cut crime in communities
2. Protecting vulnerable groups and supporting victims so that they aren’t just a statistic
3. Breaking the cycle of crime to reduce future crime
Plaid PCCs will, “use these priorities to prevent and detect crimes that happen in communities, protect vulnerable groups and support people who are the victims of crime, and to work with offenders to break their cycle of offending, punishment and re-offending and thereby reduce the overall amount of crime.”
I reckon most people would prefer that to a continuation of Christopher Salmon’s ideology-based reduction in policing resources and refusal to countenance a dedicated local police helicopter.
The point of this article is show people why it’s worth voting - and voting Plaid - in the Police & Crime Commissioner elections in the Dyfed Powys area. Apart from his extensive working knowledge of the actual issues involved in the job, Dafydd Llywelyn is the best-placed to relieve us of a Tory incumbent. Whatever else you decide to do in this round of elections, why not give him a go?