Big Issue: A student's view of the police commissioner elections
I'M stunned. I cannot quite understand why we're being forced to vote for a new police and crime commissioner.
As a journalism student, I thought I was pretty aware of what was going on around me. I make sure to vote in every election I'm supposed to, and I make sure to research who I'm voting for and why I'm doing it.
I also keep an eye on national and local news, so I tend to feel in the loop. So, when this police and crime commissioner election started to be broadcast on television, it took me slightly by surprise.
I wasn't sure how I managed to miss it, but upon finding out about it, I brought it up in my lecture. Not surprisingly, I found out that actually I wasn't the only one. Several students knew virtually nothing about this election; some were even confused enough to believe it was another general election.
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Others who did know about it were so disengaged that they barely bothered to comment more than that they wouldn't be voting.
And why would they?
The role of police and crime commissioner is one that most of the general public are struggling to understand the point of.
Having since researched the role, I find myself in disbelief at what this job entails and who the candidates are.
One of the points that seemed to be conveyed most prominently with this election is that it's not political.
But a £5,000 deposit to pay to stand for election has priced many without a political affiliation out of standing, including Jeanne Berry, who was intending to stand to oppose the badger cull.
As a 22-year-old, I can't see how most people my age would even know where to find £5,000 to stand, let alone the costs to have a decent campaign.
It'll be interesting to see the voter turnout levels of this election.
With it expected to be below 40 per cent, perhaps it will be shown that people are simply not interested in voting for a police and crime commissioner.
Speaking to friends at university about this, I can't see many of them walking to their local polling station to vote for someone and something that they feel doesn't concern them.
I feel voting is important, and I'm keen to voice my view, but I can't see me doing anything other than destroying my ballot paper.