OUTGOING Gwent police and crime commissioner Jeff Cuthbert blamed a lack of support from the UK Government for the low turnout in the elections ahead of stepping down on Wednesday (May 8),

Just 15.63 per cent of voters in Gwent cast a vote to decide who should oversee the area’s police force and help agree its budgets, including the council tax precept.

Elsewhere there was little enthusiasm for the elections, with turnout across Wales just 17 per cent, while voters in England also had local elections to take part in at the same time. 

Mr Cuthbert has been succeeded by Labour candidate Jane Mudd after being twice elected as the Labour candidate himself, in 2016 and 2021, when the elections were held alongside Senedd elections. 

He said: “Unlike Parliament or Senedd elections we do not get benefit from a free leaflet drop,

“People then get at least one leaflet from the candidates. It is unfair and it doesn’t help democracy if people are not aware of the candidates, they may have a generic view of each candidate, but not their manifesto.” 

Mr Cuthbert also said given the PCC elections were being held as a standalone poll for the first time since 2012, the low turnout, similar to the 15 per cent then, wasn’t surprising. 

But he disputed that people hadn’t engaged with the PCC office, and criticism that he had failed to reach out to communities.

Plaid Cymru candidate Donna Cushing, who finished third with 9,864 votes, said she believed Mr Cuthbert had to take responsibility for a failure for the election to cut through with the public. 

The Caerphilly Borough councillor said: “A lot of people didn’t know what the PCC is there for. I think a lot of that is the previous PCC did not get out there, get their message across.” 

But Mr Cuthbert said his office had held “many public events” and has an “extensive website”, but said: “It’s a bit like an insurance policy. Most people who come to us have a particular problem and sp most don’t choose to engage.” 

He also said all parties have a part to play in promoting the position.