Labour's Kim McGuiness elected as Police and Crime Commissioner
Northumbria’s new police and crime commissioner is pushing for an early meeting with the force’s chief constable as she “aims to hit the ground running”.
Kim McGuinness has also pledged to lobby Government for more cash for Northumbria Police after her victory was finally confirmed on Friday afternoon.
Miss McGuinness has retained the commissioner’s role for Labour with a substantially reduced majority compared to predecessor Dame Vera Baird’s 2016 triumph.
With none of the four 2019 candidates gaining more than 50 per cent of the poll, the Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates were eliminated with second preference votes needed to separate Miss McGuinness and independent rival Georgina Hill.
Miss McGuinness eventually received a combined total of 67,332 votes compared to Ms Hill’s 61,633 votes.
The 5,699 margin compares to Miss Baird’s 121,766 majority three years ago with overall turnout more than halved from 32 per cent to 15 per cent.
Miss McGuinness, 34, from Newcastle, said after her win was confirmed at Sunderland’s Silksworth Wellness Centre: “I am just grateful to have won and to the people who did vote for me and promise to work on behalf of everyone to improve policing in Northumbria.”
The election was called after Miss Baird took on a new role as nationwide Victims’ Commissioner with another police commissioner’s election already scheduled for next May.
Miss McGuinness said: “You are also talking about a sudden election in the middle of summer and what concerns me more is that I need to hit the ground running if I want to make an impact before next May and intend to get out and meet people.
“I will be at Newcastle Pride, which is a massive event, and then I hope to meet the chief constable straight away next week.”
She will also be lobbying the Government for more support, adding: “We have had 25 per cent cuts to policing in this region, the biggest in this country, and I want to be taking this to government and saying we cannot take any more.”
Defeated independent candidate Ms Hill said the performances of the established parties showed they were in “crisis” and vowed to fight again for the commissioner’s role in 2020.
She added: “I am absolutely thrilled for everyone who has supported me that we have come so close.
“We have taken on the big political machines in a short space of time and proved that the move for greater transparency is growing.”
Conservative representative Robbie Moore, who polled 33,267 in the first round of votes and was eliminated by less than 500 votes, said: “I think we have done as best as we could and fought a tough campaign.
“What it does show is how much support for Labour has dropped. This should have been an absolute landslide for Labour and shows that it is not Labour heartland any more.”
Liberal Democrat candidate Jonathan Wallace, who finished bottom with 28,623 votes, said: “The whole process has cost £2.5m and it’s Government money which could have been spent elsewhere.
“I would prefer a return to something like the old system of police authorities.
“To be honest, I am relieved it’s all over and at least I can go back to the stack of jobs I have put on hold such as being a bee keeper.
“I have been stung by the voters and now I’m looking forward to getting stung by my bees although I thank everyone who did vote for me.”
The 15 per cent turnout equated to 155,990 voters.