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Spending of police and crime commissioner candidates revealed
POLICE and crime commissioner (PCC) candidates spent more than £150,000 fighting last year’s elections to decide who will hold the region’s police to account, new figures show.
The 14 hopefuls in the North-East and North Yorkshire paid out an average of £11,574 in the month before the elections in November, during which time spending and donations over £50 were monitored.
Data published by the Electoral Commission showed that the candidate who spent the most was Labour’s Vera Baird, who spent £31,143 successfully contesting the Northumbria PCC election.
Independent candidate Kingsley Smith, former Durham County Council chief executive and current chairman of Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust, paid out £31,077 in a fruitless bid to be selected as Durham’s PCC.
In contrast, the winning candidate, Labour’s Ron Hogg spent £18,599 – more than £12,000 less.
The costs of Conservative candidate Nick Varley totaled just £354.
The race to become Cleveland PCC was won by Labour-backed Barry Coppinger, who spent £13,585, while unsuccessful independent candidate Sultan Alam, a former Cleveland police officer who spent 17 years clearing his name after being falsely convicted, paid out £18,652.
In North Yorkshire there were just two candidates. The winner, Conservative selection Julia Mulligan, spent £17,102, with Labour councillor Ruth Potter’s costs totaling £1,664.
Mrs Mulligan said she had received no central party political funding and her money had been raised by a local team of volunteers and herself via private donations.
“I would therefore like again to thank everyone who supported me in so many different ways,” she added.
All would-be PCCs in the region came in under the spending limit for their force area.
Much of the expenditure went on unsolicited material, with several candidates also spending thousands on advertising and accommodation.
The data showed those candidates spending the most usually received large donations which matched expenditure, the exception being Mr Alam who only received £500 in donations despite spending £18,652.
The Commission also published a report on PCC election spending, which found that although current spending limits are much higher that the amounts candidates spent, it is too early to recommend a reduction for the next polls in 2016, which could attract more attention as they will be held on the same day as local government and Welsh national assembly elections.
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