Low turn out for elections

West Yorkshire residents stayed away from the polling booths for the new police and crime commissioner elections - with the lowest turnout on record.

Just 13.3 per cent of people used their vote in the region with more than 8,000 spoilt ballots.

Labour candidate Mark Burns-Williamson won the race to be voted in as the first Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire.

He beat independent candidate Cedric Christie after second preference votes were counted.

Mr Burns-Williamson, who has been a member of the county’s police authority for 13 years, will set priorities for the force and oversee its budget.

He said: “It is now up to me and the other 40 police and crime commissioners elected today to establish themselves and legitimise this post by listening to everyone who relies on their local police force.”

On polling day last week, Wetherby resident Andrea Vertigan, 46, said she did not know who she would be voting for.

She told the News: “I do not think that a commissioner is needed, the only reason I am voting is because my son Nathan is with me and it is his first time to vote.

“Women fought very hard for our right to vote so even though I do not know who I am voting for, I will be voting.”

Joanne Roney, returning officer, said: “I am disappointed with the 13.3 per cent turnout for West Yorkshire, which is despite all the efforts made by the five councils to get people to vote for their first Police and Crime Commissioner. Many voters have made comments about the arrangements for these elections both verbally and on ballot papers and we will be feeding back nationally.”

Meanwhile, a low turn out for the election was also seen in North Yorkshire, with just 13.3 per cent going to the polls.

Conservative Julia Mulligan was elected as North Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner. Mrs Mulligan, a former local councillor and school governor, beat Labour’s Ruth Potter by 47,885 votes to 34,328 votes.