New police commissioner says low voter turnout won’t put him off job

4:00pm Thursday 22nd November 2012

Despite being elected with a turnout of just over 15 per cent, Wiltshire’s new Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson is looking forward to the task of overseeing the policing of Wiltshire and Swindon.

Part of his brief is, as he sees it, informing people of what his job entails. Many did not vote because they didn’t understand what the job was and didn’t know who the candidates were.

Mr Macpherson said: “The number of people who turned out to vote was disappointing, but the most worrying part of it when I spoke to people around the county was the number of people who said, I don’t vote.

“Next time round people will understand more what the job is about but there will still be those who, for whatever reason, don’t vote.”

Despite his uncompromisingly Scottish name, Mr Macpherson is Swindon born and bred. His grandfather, who was born in Scotland, was first voted onto Swindon Borough Council 80 years ago this year.

Mr Macpherson was educated at Dauntsey’s School in West Lavington, where he is now a governor. After leaving school he joined Hoover and took a degree in business studies at Ealing College. He later studied to become a chartered accountant and, on returning to Swindon, was soon elected to the borough council.

He was invited to become a magistrate and then became one of the magistracy’s appointments on Wiltshire police authority. He also started up two charities benefiting homeless people and sits on the board of trustees of the Community Foundation for Wiltshire and Swindon.

All this, says Mr Macpher-son, is ideal background for a police and crime commissioner and the budgetary challenge that awaits him.

He said: “We have got less money to play with and we need to work more smartly.”

He said that Wiltshire Police will need to build on its relationship with communities throughout the county to make people more responsible for the policing of their own areas.

He said: “It isn’t just police officers who can police. Neighbourhood Watch, Traff-ic Watch and all those other community groups have shown us the way. Although the community has given the police the power to come along with a warrant and take you away, we all have a role to play in policing.

“We have to allow people to take responsibility for themselves and the places in which they live.”


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