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Derbyshire voters go to the polls to elect a police commissioner and the first East Midlands Mayor

Derbyshire voters were going to the polling booths today as part of two local elections in the county to select their preferred candidate to become the first ever East Midlands Mayor, and their preferred candidate to become the latest Derbyshire and Police Crime Commissioner.

The two Derbyshire elections are part of Local Elections taking place across England and Wales involving the election of councillors at 107 local authorities, 11 regional mayors, and 37 Police and Crime Commissioners. and there will also be a Westminster by-election, in Blackpool South.

Polling stations opened at 7am and counting will begin after the polls close, at 1pm, on Thursday evening, May 2, with the first results expected after midnight on Friday, May 3.

The six East Midlands Combined County Authority candidates include Conservative Ben Bradley, Labour’s Claire Margaret Ward, Liberal Democrat Helen Louise Tamblyn-Saville, Independent Matt Relf, Green Party member Frank Adlington-Stringer and Reform UK’s Alan Graves.

EMCCA has brought together representatives from four agreed local authorities Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council after its launch this year but Leicester City and Leicestershire County councils declined to join the authority

The EMCCA devolution deal will reportedly guarantee a funding stream of £1.14bn spread over 30-years with devolved powers around transport, housing, skills and adult education, economic development and net zero.

Councils across the East Midlands, including those in Derbyshire are not being scrapped or merged under the EMCCA devolution deal and they will still oversee many public services, but the new East Midlands Combined County Authority will deal with broader issues like transport, regeneration and employment.

Current Conservative Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster, who was elected in 2021, is standing again alongside three other candidates for the role including Reform UK’s Russell Winston Armstrong, Liberal Democrat David Martin Hancock, and Labour’s Nicolle Sibusiso Ndiweni.

The role is regarded as a significant position in helping to set police priorities, responding to the needs of communities, setting the local policing budget and ensuring local and national priorities are suitably resourced while the Commissioner is also able to monitor performance. 

The newly elected Commissioner will be responsible for setting an annual budget, putting a five-year Police and Crime Plan together, setting the amount of council tax to be paid to the police force, setting police priorities, and providing community safety grants, publishing an annual report and ensuring value for money. 

They will also be responsible for taking into account national policing challenges such as counter terrorism and cross-border policing set out in a new Strategic Policing Requirement. 

Priorities, outlined by Derbyshire Constabulary and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, include addressing domestic abuse, sexual abuse, violence against women and girls, supporting victims, addressing anti-social behaviour and serious violence, and providing safer streets and safeguarding children and youngsters. 

Nationally, most eyes will be on the The West Midlands and the Tees Valley mayoral elections currently held by the Conservatives with many interested to see if they can retain their seats against Labour. 

The Conservative government’s popularity has reportedly fallen in national polls after it has been criticised on key issues like the economy, migration, and the NHS. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has also refused to rule out a possible General Election in July and the Tories have argued that they are righting the economy, are addressing migration with their Rwanda policy and they have been investing in the NHS. 

The newly formed Reform UK party has also appeared to be taking Conservative voters from the Tories in some national polls. 

Green Party members, nationally, have said they are confident their candidates will hold a record number of seats in the local elections in England, and have not ruled out cooperating with other parties during any General Election. 

The Liberal Democrats, who have focused their campaigning efforts in traditional Tory areas, have said today is a chance for voters to send a message to the government. 

Local Election results are expected throughout Friday and over the weekend with the final, complete results expected on Sunday, May 5. 

Mayoral results, including those for the East Midlands, South Yorkshire, Greater London, West Midlands, Greater Manchester and elsewhere, will be announced on Friday and Saturday, May 3 and May 4. 

These latest local elections will not only see the appointment of the first ever East Midlands Mayor but will also see the appointment of the first ever North Yorkshire Mayor.

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