Police chief vote cost could exceed over a million pounds

131125d  Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, who was guest speaker at a packed Scarborough Urban Area Forum meeting at Scarborough Library. Photo by Andrew Higgins    03/03/2013
131125d Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, who was guest speaker at a packed Scarborough Urban Area Forum meeting at Scarborough Library. Photo by Andrew Higgins 03/03/2013

The final bill for holding the largely shunned vote to elect the inaugural North Yorkshire Crime Commissioner could surpass a million pounds.

A Freedom of Information request by The Scarborough News shows that the election, which was largely overshadowed by a record low voter turnout, shows that eight councils across the region are allowed to claim back a combined £1,327,118 in expenses for running the vote.

Out of that, Scarborough Council were awarded an allowance of £163,801 for the election.

The figure is the maximum amount each authority can claim for running the election, but in disclosing the information, The City of York Council wouldn’t reveal how much each returning officer claimed back for the vote.

However, if each authority did claim the maximum allowance, it would mean that over £16 was spent on the election for each person who voted in it.

The election last November resulted in Conservative Julia Mulligan, a former York councillor and school governor, beat Labour’s Ruth Potter by 47,885 votes to 34,328 votes.

However, her appointment was met with a wave of voter apathy, as just over one in eight registered voters turned out for the election, with thousands more spoiling their ballots.

The newly-appointed commissioner admitted that there had been “some issues around understanding what this role is”.

The Home Office funded the full cost of the organisation and running of the Police and Crime Commissioner Election, with councils able to have any expenses reimbursed up the pre-mentioned limits.

For each of the eight council areas within the police area of North Yorkshire, the Returning Officer of that council is appointed as Local Returning Officer with the requirement to organize and arrange the election for their own area.

Subsequently, the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Election was run on council boundaries, not a single election for the whole police area, with the results collated by the Police Area Returning Officer centrally.