Norfolk voters think Stephen is ‘The Safe Bett’ for police and crime commissioner (PCC)

Stephen Bett speaks after he won the election to become Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner. Picture: Denise Bradley Stephen Bett speaks after he won the election to become Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner. Picture: Denise Bradley

Saturday, November 17, 2012
6:30 AM

Former police authority chairman Stephen Bett has vowed to help keep Norfolk one of the safest places in the country after he triumphed in a David versus Goliath-like battle to become the county’s first police and crime commissioner.

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Stephen Bett celebrates as he wins to become Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner. Picture: Denise BradleyStephen Bett celebrates as he wins to become Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner. Picture: Denise Bradley

Mr Bett resigned from the police authority and quit the Tory party in September to embark on a campaign as an independent after he lost out to Jamie Athill in the summer as Norfolk’s Conservative candidate.

But while not having the backing of a major political party behind him Mr Bett, who dubbed his campaign The Safe Bett, was declared the winner of the landmark elections in Norwich yesterday.

As expected turnout for the election was worryingly low – just 15pc across the whole of Norfolk – but it could not detract from the result for Mr Bett, who was elected into the £70,000 a-year-post with the remit of holding the police to account and with the power to set budgets and hire and fire chief constables after he received a total of 39,988 votes compared to his closest challenger Mr Athill, who received a total of 36,605.

Speaking after the result was announced at St Andrew’s Hall in Norwich yesterday, Mr Bett said: “I’m delighted to have won the election to be Norfolk’s first police and crime commissioner and pleased that my non-party political stance won the day with voters.

“I don’t dwell on the campaign itself, nor the apparent apathy of the public towards the election. However, I offer my thanks to the other candidates for their hard work in stirring things up and helping to inform the public as they did so.

“Now, the hard work begins. I set out my plans for the role in a 10-point pledge and they are the commitments that I will ultimately be judged on.

“I have pledged to keep Norfolk one of the safest counties in the UK, with public safety as my number-one priority. There will be a relentless battle to combat crime.”

Mr Bett, who spent 16 years on Norfolk Police Authority – including six as chairman – said he would do his “utmost” to keep the county safe by maintaining the police front-line in the face of further budget cuts.

He said: “I made it clear that I believe we can find the savings we need to make through continuing our collaboration with Suffolk and I believe there are more savings to be made.

“There is no need to privatise and involve large third-party companies who are ultimately focused on profits and shareholder value.

“Equally, if not more importantly, I will listen very carefully to our communities and work with as many community groups and individuals as possible to ensure policing is fair for all. I will work with all shades of the political spectrum without fear or favour ... as I did in chairing Norfolk Police Authority.

“There are some immediate priorities, including setting the budget. This will be pressured as we won’t know what the level of government will be until nearer Christmas.

“I will be seeking early consultations with the chief constable with whom I already have a very good working relationship. The quality of this partnership will form the basis of ensuring the best possible policing service for everyone in Norfolk.”

Mr Bett singled out his wife Phillippa and son and daughters for their “tremendous support” and keeping him on the “straight and narrow when the going got tough” as well as his campaign team, including running mate and soon-to-be deputy Jenny McKibben, for working so tirelessly.

Speaking after the result came in Mrs McKibben, an independent member of Norfolk Police Authority which is to be replaced by the commissioner on November 22, said: “I think this is a fantastic result – we’ve had support from across the political spectrum all backing us with a very clear message that people don’t want politics interfering with policing.

“We had a tiny team, no budget and were up against the big machinery of political parties but a strong message – a strong message of what we’ve done on the authority and that’s what got us through.”

Norfolk’s chief constable Phil Gormley said: “I congratulate Stephen Bett on his success in the police and crime commissioner elections for Norfolk. I, along with the rest of my chief officer colleagues, look forward to working with him in the months ahead to continue to develop and deliver the excellent service provided by Norfolk Constabulary.”

Mr Athill said he was disappointed to have lost the race to become police and crime commissioner – a role which he still strongly believes in.

He said: “We came second. I think it was well worth standing so that’s galling for the team. I sincerely wish the new PCC every success in what’s an important job.”

When asked about the turnout, Mr Athill said it was what it was.

The race to become Norfolk’s first police and crime commissioner became a two-horse race after the first round of counting.

Mr Athill and Mr Bett were out in front after the Norfolk first round results were announced just before 4pm, but as neither had secured more than 50pc of the poll, voters’ second preferences were counted.

Mr Athill, who received 30,834 (31.7pc) votes, and Mr Bett, who got 27,842 (28.6pc) then went head-to-head in a second round of counting after the three other candidates were eliminated. Former Norwich City Council leader Steve Morphew, Labour’s candidate, received 21,456 votes (22pc), Ukip’s Matthew Smith 9,633 (9.9pc) and Lib Dem candidate James Joyce 7,392 (7.6 pc).

The total of valid first-preference votes for Norfolk was 97,157, while the total rejected was 3,251.

Overall turnout was 15pc of eligible voters, which breaks down as Breckland 12.9pc, Broadland 15pc, Great Yarmouth 12.6pc, King’s Lynn 14.5pc, North Norfolk 16.1pc, Norwich 16.3pc and South Norfolk 17pc.

Mr Morphew was pleased with his performance in the elections but said the turnout raised some alarming concerns about the role.

He said his “biggest concern” was that by pressing ahead with PCCs the government was taking away one of the “fundamentals on which policing is based – policing by consent”.

He added: “What the public has said is they don’t consent with what’s going on here and that’s very significant for a democracy.”

It was a view echoed by Charles Clarke, former home secretary and former Norwich South MP, who has been an outspoken critic of the post.

He said: “The appallingly low turnout shows how flawed this system is.

“As far as Norwich is concerned, all I would say is it was an appallingly flawed election and one of the saddest aspects for the residents of Norwich is that despite voting overwhelmingly Labour there will be a police and crime commissioner who is not representing the needs of the city.”

Mr Bett will take up his post on Thursday, when police authorities will be officially abolished, and will serve a four-year term.

peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

31 comments

  • He lost the election by 3,000 votes , then they counted second choices - and he won ! ...Same bloke in charge , election cost a fortune , he`s on 70K a year , don`t forget his expenses on top . What a farce .

    Report this comment

    dragonfly

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

  • Another Labour politician 'bites the dust' - GREAT

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • I'm not surprised he's happy. Another £70k of taxpayers money entering his pockets on top of what he claims as a county councillor and the subsidy he gets from farming his North Norfolk estate.

    Report this comment

    Betty Swallocks

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • less than 5% of voting public chose winner Stephen Bett (independant) for Norfolk PCC roll. He wasn't even voters first choice candidate, winning in second round. total turnout 14.5% Jamie Athill (conservative) 31.7% of votes 1st round Stephen Bett (independant) 28.6% of votes 1st round 0.145 x 0.317 = 0.046 or 4.6% of eligable vote chose Athill 0.145 x 0.286 = 0.042 or 4.2% chose Bett Stephen Bett, you have NO mandate, over 95% of Norfolk voters DID NOT choose you to represent us. Scrap this job post!

    Report this comment

    jwinter

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

  • The EDP like all other media outlets relies heavily on the police for a significant proportion of their outlet so it is in their interest to keep on side with the police and now the new PCC ie Mr Bett. Consequently the EDP has a very sycophant style of reporting on police related issues. It is more or less the norm for readers to be barred by the EDP from commentating on "police related," pieces written by Mr Walsh. Perhaps Mr Walsh should spend sometime with the EDP`s political editor Joe Watts and learn the true art of independent, investigative reporting.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • Has anybody any idea what this gentlemen is going to do for 70 grand a year plus perks? Call me a cynic but I know the 70 grand pluis perks would have put two front line officers on the street.. I know what they do.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

  • With the pathetic turnout and large number of spoilt papers I can quite confidently say that the vast majority of Norfolk voters think nothing of the sort! Another ridiculous Archant headline.

    Report this comment

    Cyril the Canary

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • Honest John: "Bett's chum at Argent Richard Jewson ". Outrageous. How dare you imply that Mr Jewson has a chum. I can see a writ for libel winging its way to you as I write these wo

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • Quote "There is no need to privatise and involve large third-party companies who are ultimately focused on profits and shareholder value." Why now the change of heart? Does that mean no more PFI projects for the Constabulary then Mr Bett? Last daft idea was to build a custody suite for Norwich by way of PFI at Wymondham. I wonder how much that going to cost us each at the end of the day.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

  • He looks like he has won the lottery.

    Report this comment

    Jack

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • Seems a little odd that at parish council level you have to declare interests such as Freemasons etc. Why was that not applied for this post?

    Report this comment

    Marigold

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • I have heard a rumor that the next Norfolk PCC elections are going to involve bushtucker style challenges and a votes by tweet. Candidates will have a choice of red blue yellow and white t-shirts for ease of political identification, particularly for those who like to keep it simple.

    Report this comment

    Fly Tipper

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • EDP must be chuffed. Clearly biased in favour of Bett and Athil. Thought the website layout yesterday seemed to be absurdly pro Athil. Once again they have successfully manipulated the electorate for reasons best known to a few. If there is no police investigation into the Morphew 'scandal' it will be exposed for the grubby smear that it is. Of course by the same token no comments criticising Bett's record as NPA chairman were allowed here, and scurillous accusations about Athil's activities quickly removed. Only favourable propaganda and sycophancy commenters please, otherwise it is such a chore for editorial staff having to censor so many comments.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • What a pathetic contest all round.Not one of them engaged the public in a discussion of local involvement and thats because they are self important arrogant and think they know best They were all third raters

    Report this comment

    No to tory boy

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • £70k per year plus perks . No wonder he is happy. Anybody out there have a clue as to what he job entails. He can fire the Chief constable I believe. So political power over the police is in place. Just think how many police on the streets doing a worthwhile job could be paid for instead of this charade.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • Wouldn't the headline be more accurate if it read something along the lines of 'Small Number of Elderly Norfolk Residents Vote in Pointless Election - No Surprises'? Oh, and isn't Peter Walsh the man who recently went along with the Police to smash innocent peoples doors down and steal their cannabis? I'm not saying your a violent thug, Peter, but your reporting, and that's all it is because it certainly isn't journalism, was instrumental in the justification of the violent thugs (the police) attacks that took place recently. Your nothing more than a propagandists for state terror.

    Report this comment

    fcuk_the_law

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • Fenscape 2: be careful what you wish for. And the EDP did not back Betts, it backed Athill - a product of the fee-paying school system who spent his entire career in the army: not in civvy street: and who signally failed to declare an 'interest' in a Czech arms trading parastatal: I wrote to the EDP over a week before election day about this: the EDP remained stumm: their man was Athill.

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • BG: "The EDP like all other media outlets relies heavily on the police for a significant proportion of their outlet ..". Um. What prexctly do you mean by 'outlet', BG? And does this have anything to do with sewage?

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • I would have thought the Chief Constable Mr. Gormley would have given his 'reserved' support, given that the candidate was elected by some 85.000 postal votes from the safety of arm chairs, postal votes automatically sent out to Conservative voters, as this election was fought without regards to the electoral framework, why else would the electoral commission want to look into it. The EDP's undivided support for Mr. Athill, not Mr. Bett, as he had not had the support of Norfolk's Conservative party any more, makes this bitter sweet article rather pathetic. maybe Mr. Walsh would like a change of job, to be a PCSO himself, be able to swing that heavy hammer and tear families apart for a petty amount of cannabis.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • How much will you spend on PCC dinners Mr Bett? Will spend less than Chief Constable Phil Gormley, who spent £2415.50 of Norfolk's Police Budget over a 1 year accounting period between 2010 to 2011. That was 33 meals, 6 of them with NPA (you?) averaging £73.20 per meal.

    Report this comment

    Fly Tipper

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

  • we are back to censoring replies. mr. Bett was elected by 3.4% of the electorate, that's not a mandate in my book but an indictment that democracy is non existent.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • He may not have had the backing of any major political party behind him, but he DID have the EDP on side didnt he? It's not often I see such a sycophantic and simpering headline along the lines of above and I even find myself wishing that Pete Waters was back in the hot seat this morning....

    Report this comment

    Fenscape 2

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • Ingo: "mr. Bett was elected by 3.4% of the electorate". strewth. And can you work out for the loikes of me what % of the vote the UKIP candidate got in the first round? bitte. Albert Cooper would like to know... :-)

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • BG: "Perhaps Mr Walsh should spend sometime with the EDP`s political editor Joe Watts ". What? In London! But it;s awash with 'bauble women' accoridng to our Joe who speaks the lingo. No, Archant should front up for an air ticket to Oz, where Mr Walsh may interview Nadine Dorries. What's not to like?

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • The next time a trade union ballots for industrial action, I don't expect any politician to say that they don't have a mandate because of the number of people voting (or not). It quite obviously does not matter how many people use their vote, the result stands.

    Report this comment

    crunchy dick

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • I have heard a rumor that the next Norfolk PCC elections are going to involve bushtucker style challenges and a votes by tweet. Candidates will have a choice of red blue yellow and white t-shirts for ease of political identification, particularly for those who like to keep it simple.

    Report this comment

    Fly Tipper

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • A more fitting headline should read 'A very tiny minority of Norfolk voters were taken in by Stephen Bett' - the EDP's headline sound like it was supplied by Com Res! At least Bett's chum at Argent Richard Jewson will be happy, party time at the Lodges around Norfolk then.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • Good luck emailing him folks... One thing he refused to do as a county councillor was allow people to communicate with him in any way. Unless youre gunning pheasants down on his estate after crossing his palm with silver of course....

    Report this comment

    Fenscape 2

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • Marigold: hef yew not read about Opus Dei?

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • I think it is a case of same old Sh*t, different package. Even if the man presents him self as a Condipendent he will still be a Political Candidate and never truly independent. These elections were meant to be about the peoples voice, not the same old tired party political sycophants representing their party views.

    Report this comment

    Farquarson-Smythe

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • are you saying Mr. Bett is a Freemason Honest John?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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