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Elections 2021: Conservative Darryl Preston wins race to be police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough



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Conservative Darryl Preston has won the race to be the new police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

His election, declared on Saturday (May 8), represents a Tory hold but with a new candidate. Former police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite resigned from the role in November 2019 following allegations relating to an exchange on social media.

Conservative Ray Bisby has been acting PCC since December 2019.

Darryl Preston was elected Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner on Saturday May 8, 2021
Darryl Preston was elected Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner on Saturday May 8, 2021

Mr Preston won in the second round of voting, with first and second preference votes totalling 114,153 (52.76 per cent).

Labour’s Nicky Massey came second, with first and second preference votes totalling 102,195 (47.24 per cent).

Liberal Democrat Rupert Moss-Eccardt and Reform UK’s Susan Morris were eliminated in the first round of voting.

Mr Preston said afterwards: “I’m feeling really excited. I’m really grateful to the residents of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough for them to put their faith in me, but now we’ve got work to do.

“We need to get these extra police officers. We need to get them out there visible in our neighbourhoods, cutting and fighting crime and keeping all of our communities safe.”

Asked if his victory will start a new chapter for the office following the controversy surrounding Mr Ablewhite, Mr Preston said: “Well, I am me. I based my campaign on honesty and integrity. I was a police officer for 30 years.

The four candidates for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) at the 2021 elections. Top row, from left, Labour's Nicky Massey and Conservative Darryl Preston. Bottom row, from left, Liberal Democrat Rupert Moss-Eccardt and Reform UK's Sue Morris
The four candidates for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) at the 2021 elections. Top row, from left, Labour's Nicky Massey and Conservative Darryl Preston. Bottom row, from left, Liberal Democrat Rupert Moss-Eccardt and Reform UK's Sue Morris

“When I start my job I’ll hit that ground running. My job is all about protecting the communities of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”

In his acceptance speech, Mr Preston said: “To serve as a police and crime commissioner is a privilege, and it’s a privilege that carries great responsibility, and it’s an honour that I do not take lightly.

“I understand that responsibility and that is to represent the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough - all the residents of our great county - giving them the voice and keeping all of our community safe.

“Now, in a few days time, I’ll be taking an oath of office, and that is enshrined in law, and I will swear that I will act with integrity and diligence in my role and to the best of my ability.

“I will execute the duties of my office to ensure that the police are able to, and here’s the thing, cut crime and protect people.

“Cutting crime, protecting the public and supporting victims, those are my priorities, and they’re my priorities because they are the priorities of the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”

Darryl Preston was elected Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner on Saturday May 8, 2021
Darryl Preston was elected Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner on Saturday May 8, 2021

Mr Preston secured 42.9 per cent in the first round of voting, meaning he did not have an overall majority.

Ms Massey secured 31.3 per cent, Mr Moss-Eccardt earned 22.3 per cent, and Ms Morris achieved 3.48 per cent.

Under the supplementary vote system, that meant only the top two candidates proceeded and the second preference of voters who chose the eliminated candidates as their first choice were added to the totals of the other two, if applicable.

The result was a boost for the battered Tory party, who were reeling from an upset earlier in the day in the race to be the next mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, in which Labour’s Dr Nik Johnson took his party from third in 2017 to first, ousting incumbent Conservative James Palmer.

That came a day after the Conservatives lost overall control of Cambridgeshire County Council.

Newly-elected mayor Dr Nik Johnson celebrates with Labour PCC candidate Nicky Massey. Picture: Keith Heppell
Newly-elected mayor Dr Nik Johnson celebrates with Labour PCC candidate Nicky Massey. Picture: Keith Heppell

In her speech from the podium, runner-up Ms Massey said: “What an amazing set of elections we’ve had.

“I’m really honoured to still be standing here. That 102,000 votes – thank you to every single one of you that voted for me, and I’m not going anywhere and I won’t go quietly, you will hear me roar.

“I will be standing up for [against] domestic abuse, I will be standing up for [against] sexual harassment of women, I will be your voice, together we are going to make a change. We’re just going to do it in a slightly different way, so please, for those of you who voted for me, join me on my next journey, where we will make a difference and we are definitely going to smash domestic abuse out the ballpark.”

Police and crime commissioners act as a voice for the public and hold the police force to account. Their job is to ensure the police run an effective and efficient service.

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