Following the debacle of the first Police and Crime Commissioner election on Thursday last week (6 May) after which Conservative candidate, Jonathon Seed decided to ‘withdraw’ once it was noted that he would be disqualified were he to attempt to take up the position – even though he was eventually declared the winner, Terence Herbert, Chief Executive of Wiltshire Council issued the following statement:
“Following the Police and Crime Commissioner election count on Monday I have taken appropriate legal advice and spoken with the Cabinet Office, Wiltshire Police and the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner. There is a clear legal process for me to follow.
“Following the result of the election in my role of Police Area Returning Officer, I declared Jonathon Seed as the Police & Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire. The election was administered in accordance with all relevant legislation and regulations. Mr Seed has publicly indicated that he will not take up that office.
“The legislation states that after a two-month period, beginning on the day after polling day, lapses, a vacancy arises. As Police Area Returning Officer, I must then hold an election within 35 days. Therefore, preparations will now begin to hold an election on 19 August 2021.
“I remain immensely proud of all my staff who worked across the election weekend and although we would not have chosen to run another election so soon, we will ensure that a fair and accurate Police & Crime Commissioner election is once again delivered.
“The council is working closely with the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner and Wiltshire Police and all officers and staff will continue to work hard to protect residents and make sure that our communities remain safe.
“Given that we are now following a legal process and as Wiltshire Police have asked Thames Valley Police to conduct an “investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 2021 Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner election”, it would be inappropriate for us to provide any further comment at this time.”
Further to this Wiltshire Police confirmed that they have asked Thames Valley Police to ‘lead an external, independent investigation in to matters surrounding the 2021 Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner election.’
A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police stated: “Following a request by Wiltshire Police, we have launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 2021 Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner election. As our enquiries are ongoing we will not be making further comment at this time.”