A police boss is urging the media to devote more coverage to the elections of police and crime commissioners.
The Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Winston Roddick CB QC, who is also the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, believes the PCC ballots are being largely ignored by the broadcast and print media.
Mr Roddick, who will not be standing for re-election, said “How we are policed is of central importance to our liberties and our personal security. It follows that the accountability of the police in carrying out those responsibilities and the scrutiny of them in doing so are just as important.
“These elections are therefore of considerable importance to the public and the election campaigns of the candidates should receive much better coverage than they are getting at present.
“The role of PCC is still relatively new and the public need to know just how important a role it is.
“PCCs have much more responsibilities and authority than individual MPs and AMs and yet the election of them is getting scant attention by the press.
“The people need to know just how much policing has changed recently and that the role of PCC is one that requires a lot of relevant skills and experience. Effective press coverage will bring these out.
According to Mr Roddick, the European referendum and the Welsh Assembly elections were getting all the attention with scant reference to electing police and crime commissioners.
A former police officer, Mr Roddick carved out an illustrious career as a barrister and also sat as a judge and in 1998 was appointed as the first Counsel General of Wales. .
In 2012 he became the first ever North Wales and Police and Crime Commissioner after the old police authority was abolished by Government legislation and last October he was elected as the first independent chair of the APCC.
Mr Roddick said: “Policing has changed very considerably in the last few years, not only in terms of governance because of the changes made by the Act in 2011 in introducing police and crime commissioners, replacing the police authorities, but also there are new and emerging crimes like cyber crime and child sexual exploitation that we need to tackle.
“The introduction of police and crime commissioners has made a vast difference to the accountability of the police and the transparency of the police.
“Of course, the European referendum and the Welsh Assembly elections are very important but so is the election of the new police and crime commissioners.
“I have no personal axe to grind or anything to gain here because I am not standing for re-election.
“Choosing the new police and crime commissioners is a vitally important matter for the public.
“The new commissioners, whoever they are, will have a massive impact on people’s lives in terms of keeping them safe and secure and holding their chief constable to account.
“It is therefore imperative that voters are able to make an informed choice and the media has a central role to play in the process.
“At the moment there is a huge democratic deficit, because the media are not training their spotlight on the PCC elections.
“I am urging the broadcast media and newspapers, along with online news outlets, to devote a great deal more coverage to this important matter.”