Published Thursday, 22nd April 2021
On 6 May, eligible adults in Surrey can vote for who they want to be the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
The next election takes place on the same day as the Surrey County Council and Reigate & Banstead Borough Council elections.
What they do for you
The Police and Crime Commissioner is elected for a four-year term and plays an important role in holding Surrey Police to account for its actions. The Commissioner also works with the Chief Constable to set the overall direction for the force.
The Commissioner also recommends how much Council Tax you pay by agreeing a budget with the Chief Constable and Force to meet their collective priorities. More than half of the Force’s income comes from your Council Tax bill with the remainder from Government.
Five key responsibilities of the Commissioner are to:
- hold the police to account on behalf of the public, including holding the Chief Constable to account for force performance. This is done through regular internal discussions as well as public performance meetings. It also includes the power to appoint or remove the Chief Constable when necessary.
- provide a link between the police and Surrey residents. This includes listening to feedback from the public on policing and crime reduction and pursuing improvements that can be made by or in partnership with Surrey Police.
- set the strategic direction and aims for Surrey Police through the Police and Crime Plan, and to propose the amount of Council Tax that will go towards policing from Surrey residents. The successful PCC candidate will consult the public to inform the development of a new Police and Crime Plan.
- be responsible for all funding relating to policing and reducing crime and to work with the Chief Constable to set the force budget in line with priorities and deliver value for money for residents.
- promote community safety, reduce re-offending and support victims. The Commissioner uses the majority of their budget to support services that work in partnership to achieve these aims.
Wider responsibilities include delivering better value for money and advocacy regionally and nationally to improve the effectiveness of policing.
The Commissioner’s staff also work closely with councils and within wider safety and community partnerships.
You can read more about a Commissioner’s role on the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ website.
In the other elections taking place on 6 May, residents will vote for:
- County councillors, who make decisions about public services across Surrey in areas such as social care, schools, roads and transport, public health and fire and rescue services
- Borough councillors, who decide on services at a local level including planning, parks, leisure and community centres, recycling and waste collection, housing and public health.
How voting works
On polling day, voting for the Commissioner will take place using the Supplementary Vote system. This is different to the council elections as eligible voters will be able to give both a first preference and second preference vote on the same ballot paper.
If a candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the first preference votes, then they are elected.
If no candidate reaches the 50 per cent threshold, the two candidates with the highest number of votes remain. This eliminates the other candidates.
The second preference of the eliminated candidates are counted. Any made for the two remaining candidates are transferred. The candidate with the most votes at the end of this process is elected.
For the County and Borough Council elections, residents vote for their preferred candidate (or candidates where more than one seat is up for election in a ward) and they are counted using the usual ‘first past the post system’, where the candidate(s) with the highest number of votes wins the seat.
For more information on the forthcoming elections see the Elections taking place on 6 May 2021 page.