Across the ITV Meridian region, Labour have announced their police and crime commissioner candidates today.
The Conservatives' selection process is well under way. In Sussex, they're down to a shortlist of six, in Hampshire down to a shortlist of two (including the 77 year old former MP Michael Mates) and in Kent, they've chosen Medway councillor Craig Mackinlay, who was formerly the deputy leader of UKIP.
The Lib Dems won't be fielding candidates everywhere. In Kent, they have decided not to (the job should not be party political, they say). In Sussex, they are still deciding what to do. but in Hampshire and the Thames Valley they are going to field a candidate.
There will be a clutch of independent candidates, although standing isn't cheap: you need 5000 pounds for a deposit which you only get back if you get more than 5 percent of the vote.
The commissioners will replace police authorities, and are meant to make police policy more transparent and accountable. They will have the power to hire and fire chief constables.
The candidates' first job will be to enthuse the electorate over the next few months. Can they get voters interested?
Politicans hate elections in late-autumn. they days are short, the weather's usually awful, campaigning is a struggle, and getting voters to the polling booths is even harder. The fear is the turnout could be lamentable in what will be England's first nationwide November election since 1935.
- Hampshire: Jacqui Rayment
- Kent: Harriet Yeo
- Surrey: Robert Evans
- Sussex: Godfrey Daniel
- Thames Valley: Tim Starkey