Northants PCC spent eight times closest rival in election campaign

Stephen Mold is the new Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Stephen Mold is the new Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner
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Northamptonshire’s police and crime commissioner Stephen Mold spent more than eight times his closest rival in his election campaign, it has emerged.

The Conservative candidate fought off competition from Labour’s Kevin McKeever to win the election in May, receiving 58,175 votes to McKeever’s 49,161.

But it can now be revealed by this newspaper that Mr Mold spent £40,856.39 in his campaign - more than eight times Mr McKeever’s £5,097.68. UKIP’s Sam Watts spent just £2,032.18.

Mr Mold, who resigned from his seat on South Northants Council this week, says the spending reflects the seriousness in which he takes the position.

He said: “I worked every hour I possibly could on campaigning to become police and crime commissioner because I am passionate about the role and about making a positive difference for the people of Northamptonshire.

“The money I spent on campaigning reflects the seriousness in which I take the position and the responsibilities that come with being PCC.

“Over half of the money I spent was for a survey delivered to 250,000 people in the county, the results of which have helped me understand their priorities and areas of concern; issues that will be reflected in my forthcoming Police and Crime Plan.”

Mr Mold received donations in kind of £25,643.94 as part of his campaign from private donors.

Kevin McKeever received only £4,061.18 in donations - and he says that was a key factor in the Conservative win.

He said: “For us it was an entirely locally-funded campaign, with donations from local members.

“In Parliament you have a right to Royal Mail freepost and that’s a big leveller.

“It’s my understanding that Stephen sent a lot of material out and Labour could not afford to do that.

“The Conservatives bought it. We have no wealthy donors.

“I was pleased with the result, who knows what we could have achieved had we spent more?”

The election had a spending cap of close to £100,000, which none of the candidates came close to touching.

UKIP’s Sam Watts dropped out after the first round with 27,708 votes, giving him the fourth highest UKIP vote share in England in the PCC election.

But Mr Watts, who received donations of £2,032.18, feels a more realistic spending cap should have been implemented.

He said: “Sadly it is often the case that those standing for elected positions win based upon the level of funding behind them as opposed to their ideology and desire to help their communities.

“The recent PCC election is a testament to that statement in that both the Conservative and Labour candidates had access to significantly more funding.

“Despite a strong, optimistic message and being the only candidate with actual policing experience I was always at a disadvantage.

“Given the issue with funding I was delighted with my vote share and the fantastic support from many people which often included those that would not normally have voted UKIP.

“I would welcome the introduction of a realistic spending cap which allows all to stand on an equal basis.”

In the three months since he succeeded Adam Simmonds, Mr Mold has made tackling the all-night drinking culture and the problems that arise from it one of his top priorities.

He is expected to reveal his Police and Crime Plan soon.