Why the Lib Dems are standing for barely half the elected police commissioner posts

by Stephen Tall on October 22, 2012

With nominations closed and the elections less than a month away, time for a quick recap on where the Lib Dems are at in the forthcoming police commissioner elections.

As ConHome has taken some pleasure in pointing out, the party is standing in 23 out of the 41 contests, little more than half. A little self-righteously, they argue: ‘This is a political party that is supposed to believe in radical change, in making the state more accountable to the citizen, and in boosting local democracy.’

In fact, it’s pretty remarkable that the party is standing in as many as half the police commissioner regions. A year ago, we reported: Liberal Democrats decide to pass up on fighting Police Commissioner elections (mostly):

The Liberal Democrat Federal Executive (FE) decided this week that the federal party will not be providing any financial backing to Liberal Democrats wishing to stand for election as Police Commissioners. The expectation is that instead the party will end up backing independent candidates, although it has been made clear that local areas can decide to field candidates if they wish to – albeit without any financial backing from the central party.

Gradually the party has swung more and more behind the idea of contesting these elections officially. Our own survey of party members indicated majority support for fielding official Lib Dem candidates. Nonetheless the conflicted view of the party towards the new posts (as can be seen by scrolling down our archive of posts on the topic) means it’s no surprise the party isn’t fielding a full slate. Next time round, though, I’d expect 100% of regions will be fielding a Lib Dem candidate.

The most complete candidate list available (that I know of) is provided by Policy Exchange’s PoliceElections.com website here. You can see a limited number of profiles of the party’s candidates on the Lib Dem website here.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.