Shropshire Star

Have you heard about this election taking place this May?

It’s the election not many are talking about – yet residents across the region will be asked to take to the polls in May to decide on a police commissioner for West Mercia.


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Voters will head for the ballot boxes on May 2 to elect a new commissioner, a role designed to hold the police to account, with the deadline for candidates set to expire next week.

Conservative incumbent John Campion has held the post since 2016, and was re-elected in 2021 with a 100,000 majority after after seeing off a challenge from Labour’s Kuldip Sahota, Liberal candidate Margaret Rowley and Reform candidate Peter Jewell.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia sets the budget for policing for the area, including the council tax precept for policing, and also appoints the chief constable.

So far, two candidates have confirmed their intention to run for election in 2024, including John Campion and Liberal Democrat hopeful Sarah Murray.

The Liberal Democrats have previously called for the role of Police and Crime Commissioners to be scrapped, with parliamentary leader Ed Davey describing them as “pencil pushers”.

But announcing her candidacy last month, Ms Murray said she would “bring liberal values to West Mercia Police force to help tackle crime and provide policing that meets the needs of the community”.

In his own announcement, John Campion said he was proud to have held the role since 2016, and had increased the amount spent on policing by over £30million since 2016.

“I have held the Chief Constable to account in a structured and professional way, to ensure I am driving the focus of West Mercia Police to deliver efficient and effective policing,” he said.

The West Mercia Police Area is divided into five localities covering Herefordshire, North and South Worcestershire, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin. It is the fourth largest geographic policing area in England and Wales.

It will be the fourth time the general public has been asked to decide on a commissioner since the role was created in 2012. Elections are held every four years, but the 2020 election was delayed by a year due to the global pandemic.

A full list of candidates will be available to the public on April 10, after the deadline for submissions has closed on April 5.