21 November 2012

Stop and Search your PCC - the campaign in Leicestershire

Karen Chouhan's avatar

Karen Chouhan reflects on the experience of running an awareness raising campaign in Leicestershire.

Sir Clive Loader is the new Police and Crime Commissioner in Leicestershire.
The vote went to a second count with a turn out of just 16 – and this was slightly above the national average! Sir Clive Loader received a total of 64,661 votes, with Sarah Russell getting 51,835. Suleman Nagdi the only independent candidate came third with 21,744 votes.

The low turnout and lack of interest in the election reflected our experience while campaigning to raise awareness of the elections and of the issues of Stop and Search.
A Leicestershire based coalition led by Equanomics UK and supported by StopWatch, the African Caribbean Citizens’ Forum and the National Black Police Association worked to ensure ethnic minorities in Leicestershire understood the importance of the elections and that issues such as stop and search were discussed during the campaigns.

We held two prior community meetings in areas of high BME residence, did presentations to several groups, had a twitter feed and facebook page, did plenty of local radio broadcasts and leafleted on the street.  Everywhere, we met a similar response:
- People didn’t know the election happening and knew nothing or very little about the role
- That people didn’t think it would make any difference to policing and were not really inclined to vote.
And as one person said at a community meeting:


“Stop and Search never changes even though there’s been so much said about it and we’ve had the Lawrence inquiry saying it was discriminatory. So what can one new person do?”

 

It was striking how tired people seemed of politicking and changes which in their words seemed to make no impact on the quality of their daily lives.
But we persevered!


The only hustings date we could get was the 5th November – not ideal because of Guy Fawkes Night but we reckoned that our target audiences in BME communities would not be too bothered about that. We were more concerned at the lack of interest and the cold weather. However on the night the turnout at Highfields Community Centre was a respectable 45! The candidates all arrived exactly on time. 


The debate was useful. With all candidates promising to review stop and search and recording of stop and account in Leicestershire It became apparent to us during the campaign that the City of Leicester despite having the densest population and the main area of BME residence was going to struggle to compete with the all nine of the county areas. This played out in the election, where the city expressed a very different preference to the county (see poll breakdown below). Additionally, the Police and Crime Panel is also weighted in favour of the eight county areas with only one rep from the city so far.  This raises serious concerns about how communities in the City of Leicester will be represented.

At the hustings Sir Clive Loader said he was a compassionate conservative and he certainly came over as such. He pledged to review Stop and Search and Stop and Account recording. We now look forward to working with Clive and ensuring he keeps his promises.

Results in detail
The total votes after all nine districts are:
Clive Loader (Conservative Party Candidate) 59,915 votes.
Sarah Russell (Labour) 42,051 votes.
Suleman Nagdi (Independent) 21,744 votes.
127,082 votes were cast.
Overall turnout: 16%

1. Leicester City result: Clive Loader (Conservative Party Candidate) 10,615 votes. Sarah Russell (Labour) 20,679 votes. Suleman Nagdi (Independent) 11,683 votes.
Sarah Russell is declared the winner of Leicester City. Turnout: 18.97%

County areas
2. North West Leicestershire: Clive Loader (Conservative Party Candidate) 4,930 votes. Sarah Russell (Labour) 3,378 votes. Suleman Nagdi (Independent) 898 votes.
Clive Loader is declared the winner of North West Leicestershire district. Turnout: 12.94%

3. Blaby: Clive Loader (Conservative Party Candidate) 6,120 votes. Sarah Russell (Labour) 2,397 votes. Suleman Nagdi (Independent) 1,709 votes.
Clive Loader is declared the winner of Blaby district. Turnout: 14.2%

4. Charnwood: Clive Loader (Conservative Party Candidate) 11062 votes. Sarah Russell (Labour) 6051  votes. Suleman Nagdi (Independent) 2086 votes.
Clive Loader is declared the winner of Charnwood. Turnout: 14.75

5. Harborough: Clive Loader (Conservative Party Candidate) 8,424 votes. Sarah Russell (Labour) 2,262  votes. Suleman Nagdi (Independent) 1,446 votes.
Clive Loader is declared the winner of Harborough. Turnout: 18.7%

6. Hinckley & Bosworth Clive Loader (Conservative Party Candidate) 6,860 votes. Sarah Russell (Labour) 3,221  votes. Suleman Nagdi (Independent) 1,314 votes.
Clive Loader is declared the winner of Hinckley & Bosworth district. Turnout: 13.8%

7. Melton: Clive Loader (Conservative Party Candidate) 3,951 votes. Sarah Russell (Labour) 1,288 votes. Suleman Nagdi (Independent) 836 votes.
Clive Loader is declared the winner of Melton district. Turnout: 15.22%

8. Oadby & Wigston: Clive Loader (Conservative Party Candidate) 3,975 votes. Sarah Russell (Labour) 1,933 votes. Suleman Nagdi (Independent) 1,100 votes.
Clive Loader is declared the winner of Oadby & Wigston. Turnout: 16.1%

9. Rutland: Clive Loader (Conservative Party Candidate) 3,978 votes. Sarah Russell (Labour) 842 votes. Suleman Nagdi (Independent) 672 votes.
Clive Loader is declared the winner of Rutland. Turnout: 19.68%