Quakers angry over police poll

The Friends Meeting House in Lancaster.
The Friends Meeting House in Lancaster.

A local Quaker says members of the church may spoil their ballot papers rather than cast a vote in next week’s Police and Crime Commissioner election.

People across the country will next Thursday have the chance to vote in the poll, which will see commissioners chosen to set the strategic direction and budgets of every police force.

But Mo Kelly, an Elder at the Friends’ Meeting House on Meeting House Lane, said local Quakers had raised concerns at a lack of information about the Lancashire election at their recent meeting, which was attended by more than 20 people.

“We are disturbed by the lack of information about the candidates.

“And we are also worried about the possible politicisation of the police force.

“We received leaflets through the post but there was no information about candidates and I had to go online to find any.

“Not everyone has access to the internet however.

“All the four Lancashire candidates are representing political parties, but we do feel that this should be a non-political role because politics can affect someone’s judgment.

“Some of us, including myself, will spoil our papers and some will abstain from voting, despite a life-long commitment to the duty of voting.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The arrival of police and crime commissioners will be the most significant democratic reform of policing ever, giving the public a real say in how their communities are policed.

“We have been publicising PCCs and their benefits to local communities for more than two years.

“A national advertising campaign including television and radio ads was launched last month ahead of the election on November 15, the Electoral Commission has sent out information to households eligible to vote and candidates details have been published online, with hard copies available on request.”

People can access information on candidates at www.choosemypcc.org.uk.

Alternatively, they can call 0800 1070708 to receive printed information about candidates.