OUTGOING police and crime commissioner Jeff Cuthbert has blamed a lack of support from the UK Government for the low turnout in the elections. 

Just 15.63 per cent of voters in Gwent cast a vote in the ballot to decide who should oversee the area’s police force and help agree its budget each year including the amount local households should pay through the precept that is tacked on to council tax bills. 

Elsewhere there was little enthusiasm for the elections with turnout across Wales just 17 per cent, while voters in England also had local elections to take part in at the same time. 

Mr Cuthbert, who remains in post until Wednesday, May 8 when he will retire and his successor Jane Mudd takes office, said the elections have struggled to grab the public’s attention as candidates don’t benefit from a free mail shot from the Royal Mail. 

“Unlike Parliament or Senedd elections we do not get benefit from a free leaflet drop,” said Mr Cuthbert who was twice elected as a Labour candidate, in 2016 and 2021, when the elections were held alongside Senedd elections. 

“People then get at least one leaflet from the candidates. It is unfair and it doesn’t help democracy if people are not aware of the candidates, they may have a generic view of each candidate, but not their manifesto.” 

Mr Cuthbert also said given the police and crime elections were being held as a standalone poll for the first time since the posts were introduced in 2012 the low turnout, similar to the 15 per cent 12 years ago wasn’t surprising. 

But he disputed people haven’t engaged with the office of police and crime commissioner, or criticism that he had failed to reach out to communities during his eight years in post. 

Plaid Cymru candidate Donna Cushing, who finished third with 9,864 votes, said before the result was announced that she believed Mr Cuthbert had to also take responsibility for a failure for the election to cut through with the public. 

The Caerphilly Borough councillor said: “A lot of people didn’t know what the PCC is there for. I think a lot of that is the previous PCC did not get out there, get their message across that’s what I would have wanted to do.” 

But Mr Cuthbert said he didn’t accept that as his office has held “many public events” and also has an “extensive website” but said: “It’s a bit like an insurance policy. Most people who come to us have a particular problem and most don’t so choose not to engage.” 


He also said all parties have a part to play in promoting the position but said the elections also need greater support: “Raising awareness is for all political parties, so it is as much on the shoulders of Plaid Cymru as Welsh Labour. 

“We could have more help from central government to make sure people exercise their democratic right and it is implemented but we do not get that and Parliamentary or Senedd candidates do.”