Police to conduct independent investigation into Wiltshire PCC election controversy

05-05-21 Jonathan Seed Wiltshire PCC election-ITV News

An investigation is underway into the controversy surrounding the election of Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner.

Conservative Party candidate Jonathon Seed received 40% of the vote in the first round and was elected after the second ballot was counted, but he will not able to take up the post after withdrawing because of an historic driving conviction.

Wiltshire Police has now asked Thames Valley Police to lead an external, independent investigation into the matter.

The force said: "We have asked another police force to lead on this work to ensure independent oversight and to remove any potential conflict of interest."

A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police added: “Following a request by Wiltshire Police, we have launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 2021 Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner election. As our enquiries are ongoing we will not be making further comment at this time.”

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Juliette Fletcher

Mr Seed was disbarred after a 30-year-old driving offence had come to light following an investigation.

In a statement on Sunday Mr Seed, who had been hoping to succeed departing Conservative Angus Macpherson in the role, insisted he had declared his conviction to the party in his application.

"To the best of my knowledge and belief when I applied for, and became, the police and crime commissioner candidate for the Conservative Party in Wiltshire and Swindon, I was an eligible candidate," he said.

Electoral Commission guidance says PCC candidates cannot stand for election if they have been convicted of an offence punishable with a prison sentence.

Some members of the public have expressed their anger following the result, where a re-run could mean taxpayers facing a £1.4m bill to hold another election.

Meanwhile the Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner's office has said that operational policing within the county 'will remain unaffected' after Monday night's election declaration.