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On behalf of West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Yvonne Mosquito, thank you to everyone who helped organise, promote and participate in the August 2014 by-election.

The Police and Crime Commissioner election on 21 August 2014 was unprecedented for all sorts of reasons.  Not only was it the first by-election for a Police and Crime Commissioner – following the tragic death of Bob Jones in July – it was also the first United Kingdom by-election held in August for over thirty years.  It was the biggest by-election in British electoral history, with a potential electorate of nearly two million.  An August by-election was not what people wanted, but the election law for Police and Crime Commissioners made it a necessity thanks to the notification that the Returning Officer received.  It was, of course, the lowest turnout for a PCC election, but it’s worth noting that despite this over 200,000 people participated.

The effort required from elections staff across the West Midlands to find hundreds of polling stations within 35 days of the notification – and to do so in August when many usual stations were unavailable – was immense.  Then there was the mammoth task to recruit and train hundreds of presiding officers, polling clerks and counting staff, all on the same tight timetable.  It required an extraordinary team effort, bringing together people from all our cities and boroughs.  Even the Home Office chipped in with an election leaflet to every household.

At the same time, politicians, party workers and volunteers turned out to knock doors, telephone voters, send texts, deliver leaflets and, these days, tweet and post online, making sure that hundreds of thousands of people got information about the candidates.  We acknowledge the effort made by party supporters from across the political spectrum.

On the day, the election went smoothly, as did the count.  We take this achievement for granted at our cost.  Our democratic right to choose and hold to account our leaders is a precious and hard won bloom that should not be neglected with indifference.  If not recognised and nourished, our democracy will wither.  Whatever the rights and wrongs of this election, and wherever the wider debate about the future of policing governance leads, we owe a great debt of thanks to the men and women who toil, often unnoticed, to preserve and nurture the democratic process.

Thank you again to everyone who participated in the August 2014 West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner election.

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