While much of May 6’s attention is focussed on the Senedd election, people in Wales will be able to cast votes in a second poll at the same time. But what are police and crime commissioners, and what are we voting for?

PCCs, huh?

Wales and England is split up into police force areas. In Wales, we have four police forces: South Wales, Gwent, Dyfed Powys and North Wales. Police and Crime Commissions (PCCs) replaced the now-abolished police authorities in 2016, with the intention of providing a democratically elected link between the public and their local police force.

The Commissions, headed by Police and Crime Commissioners, hold the chief constable in each force to account on behalf of the public, while also overseeing the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force within their area. They also play a key role in the delivery of each force’s 'police and crime plan'.

What powers do they have?

Each PCC must produce a ‘police and crime plan’ for its local area, including objectives for policing, resources provided to the chief constable, and how performance will be measured. The PCC is required to produce an annual report on how the plan is progressing.

PCCs also hold each force’s 'police fund', from which all policing in that area is financed. Much of the police's funding comes from the UK Home Office in the form of an annual grant, as policing is not devolved to the Welsh Government. PCCs also set a ‘local precept’ on Council Tax to raise additional funds.

How have PCCs been received since their introduction?

Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who introduced the directly elected Commissioners while UK Home Secretary, has pointed to the PCCs having ‘mixed success’.

Other parties however have stronger views:

The Liberal Democrats have campaigned to abolish PCCs, a position the UK Labour party have also previously held.

Plaid Cymru initially opposed the introduction of PCCs, however the party is now campaigning to devolve policing to Wales.

In terms of the public’s response, turnout in previous PCC elections does not suggest the public has felt engaged in the choice of police and crime commissioners

In 2016, turnout in all four Welsh police force areas failed to reach 50 per cent, with 42.5 per cent turn out in South Wales, 42 per cent in Gwent, 49.1 in Dyfed Powys and 41.6 in North Wales.

However, these were higher than the Wales and England average of 26.6 per cent.

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How do I vote?

As PCC elections take place in England and Wales, the extension of voting to 16 and 17-year-olds (as in the Senedd election) does not apply.

For people aged 18 and older, you vote at the same time you vote in the Senedd election on May 6. You will be given an additional ballot paper alongside your Senedd election papers.

The PCC elections use the supplementary vote system. This means voters mark the ballot paper with their first and second choice candidates.

If no candidate gets a majority of first preference votes, all but the top two candidates are eliminated , and the second preference votes (of the eliminated candidates) are added to the two remaining candidates to identify the winner.

As with the Senedd election, you must register to vote and apply if you require a postal or proxy vote. 

Visit our 'How to vote' guide here.

Who is standing in each area?

Gwent

Donna Cushing | Plaid Cymru
Jeff Cuthbert | Labour
Paul William Harley | Independent
Hannah Jarvis | Conservative
Clayton Francis Jones | Gwlad
John Miller | Liberal Democrats

South Wales

Mike Baker | Independent
Steve Gallagher | Conservative
Gail John | Propel
Callum James Littlemore | Liberal Democrats
Nadine Marshall | Plaid Cymru
Alun Michael | Labour

Dyfed Powys

Jon Burns | Conservative
Dafydd Llywelyn | Plaid Cymru
Tomos Glyn Preston | Liberal Democrats
Philippa Thompson | Labour

North Wales

Pat Astbury | Conservative
Andy Dunbobbin | Labour
Ann Griffith | Plaid Cymru
Lisa Wilkins | Liberal Democrats
Mark John Young | Independent

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