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Police and Crime Commissioner: Matthew Barber reelected

Wednesday, May 8th, 2024

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are elected by the public to ensure the policing needs of communities are met as effectively as possible and to oversee how crime is tackled in police force areas.

PCC elections for England and Wales took place on Thursday 2nd May 2024. On a turnout of just under 25%, the incumbent Matthew Barber won a narrow verdict in Thames Valley over the Labour party representative, Tim Starkey. His share of the vote was 32% as opposed to 42% last time around. This was in the context of a national picture which saw Labour gaining 10 PCC posts, as well as a clean sweep of the five mayoral posts with police control.

This election was conducted on a first-past-the-post basis. With 35% of votes cast for other candidates, it would have been interesting to see the result, had second preferences been taken into account as they had been in previous elections.

Mr Starkey enjoyed particularly strong results in the major urban areas, coming first in Milton Keynes, Oxford City, Reading Borough and Slough Borough. Mr Barber came top in all other areas.

Matthew BarberConservative144,09232.1
Tim StarkeyLabour and Cooperative141,74931.6
Tim BearderLiberal Democrat84,34118.8
Ben Holden-CrowtherIndependent46,85310.4
Russell Douglas FowlerIndependent31,4607.0

Mr Barber has, through his Crimefighters strategy, made a commitment to local and neighbourhood policing. An allocation of 150 additional officers to neighbourhood policing roles is promised over 2023/24, and refocus of community policing as a whole to enable officers to deliver a more proactive and responsive service, better placed to effectively prevent and disrupt crime. This was recognised in his acceptance speech:

“Over the past three years, I have worked with the brilliant officers and staff at Thames Valley Police to deliver tangible outcomes our communities can be proud of – a record number of police officers with the number in neighbourhood roles doubled, burglary rates below pre-pandemic levels, knife crime down 13% thanks, in part, to Operation Deter and a zero-tolerance approach to knife possession, the creation of a dedicated Rural Crime Taskforce and the launch of a strategy to combat retail crime.

“But I know there is more to do. I campaigned on a platform of continuing to expand neighbourhood policing, protecting communities, people and property. I look forward to taking this plan forward and making Thames Valley a safer place for us all.”

Read more about Neighbourhood Policing

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