Police elections 'awareness needed'

There is a real need to raise awareness about the forthcoming elections for police and crime commissioners, a think-tank has said.

The Policy Exchange is launching a website where candidates can submit their profile because it is clear there is "no professional alternative".

It comes after independent candidates urged the Government to level the playing field by giving them a free mailshot.

Candidates for the November elections, which will lead to police authorities being replaced by the commissioners, say the polls will be unfairly weighted in favour of political hopefuls backed by parties because information is not going to every voter.

The Home Office has said information about every candidate will be published online and, for everyone who wants it, delivered in written form.

The Policy Exchange said its website www.policeelections.com, which is now online, will mean more exposure for all candidates across England and Wales.

Blair Gibbs, head of crime and justice at the think-tank, said: "In exactly three months important elections will take place to decide who oversees our local police. There is a real need to raise awareness about the candidates who are running and what they are offering.

"Policeelections.com is an easy-to-use site that pulls together existing but disparate information, combines it with user-generated content and impartially displays this in one place for the public to explore.

"All candidates are invited to complete a free profile and we hope that this will mean that voters in every area get to see and compare all the candidates, regardless of party background."