Police commissioner polls open across Hull and East Riding
VOTERS are going to the polls today to elect the first Humberside police and crime commissioner.
People across the Humber region are being asked to choose their first and second preference for who should take on the £75,000-a-year role.
Turnout for the election is expected to be low.
Polling stations opened at 7am this morning and will close at 10pm.
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The votes will be counted at Bridlington Spa tomorrow, with the result expected to be announced in the afternoon.
There are seven candidates standing for the role, which will replace Humberside Police Authority.
• Labour’s Lord Prescott, former deputy Prime Minister and Hull East MP.
• Conservative Matthew Grove, current East Riding councillor.
• Liberal Democrat Simone Butterworth, former Hull City Council leader and current city coun-
• UKIP’s Godfrey Bloom, a Euro MP.
• Independent Paul Davison, former Humberside Police Chief Superintendent and commander of police in the East Riding.
• Independent Walter Sweeney, bed and breakfast owner and former Tory MP.
• Independent Neil Eyre, former soldier and project manager.
Bookmaker William Hill closed betting on the result yesterday, with Lord Prescott the favourite at 1/3.
Independent candidate Paul Davison is second favourite with odds of 7/2, with Conservative Matthew Grove at 6/1.
Graham Sharp, of William Hill, said: "It is fair to say John Prescott's odds have drifted a bit. They were a lot shorter.
"Matthew Grove's odds have come in a lot and Paul Davison has stayed in roughly the same place. We are seeing it as potentially a three-horse race between them.
"It is very difficult to bet on this sort of thing, however, as there is no precedent.
"We have no idea what the turnout will be like, so we will be fascinated to see the result."
The successful candidate will be responsible for the force's £180m budget and setting its priorities.
Dr Matt Beech, politics lecturer at the University of Hull, said he believes the election has failed to capture the public's imagination.
He said: "If you consider turnout is low for something as important and established as local council elections then I think it will be very low for something completely new and very controversial like the commissioner elections.
"An awful lot of people are deeply concerned about bringing politics into policing, party politics especially.
"I think some people will go along to vote to protest and will spoil their ballot and I think others think this idea is so radical and outside the British tradition regarding policing that they will simply stay away.
"I have grave concerns over this role. Policing is a difficult job and it is absolutely essential to keep crime and the fear of crime low and I think having an elected commissioner, with their own priorities and ideology, is a bad thing."
Dr Beech said he believes the winner will be either Lord Prescott or Matthew Grove.
He said: "The rural areas such as the East Riding are solidly Conservative, while urban areas, particularly the city of Hull, tend to be rock-solid Labour, so I think it is a two-horse race."