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On Thursday 6 May 2021 the third elections for Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) took place in 39 PCC areas in England and Wales. The election in Wiltshire will be re-run in August because the candidate with the most votes was disqualified for having a driving related conviction.

The first PCC elections were held in 2012 and the supplementary vote system has been used for all three election cycles.  


Of the 38 PCC elections which successfully elected a candidate in 2021, 34 were in England and four in Wales. Eight of these candidates were female (21% of successful candidates).

In England, 29 of the 34 successful candidates were Conservative (85%), and five of the successful candidates were Labour (15%).

Of the four PCC elections in Wales, three Labour candidates were successful, and one from Plaid Cymru.

The Conservatives were the only party to gain any PCCs compared to 2016 (+10), Labour lost six, Plaid Cymru lost one, and independents lost all three of their PCCs to Conservative candidates.

The first preference vote share of the Conservatives increased +14.2 percentage points (compared to 2016) to 43.6%. Labour’s vote share overall decreased 2.8 percentage points to 30.7%.

The largest overall decline in vote share was from independents and other parties, which decreased 16.8 percentage points to 7.7%. In 2016, UKIP received 13.6% of first preference votes but did not stand any candidates in 2021.

Candidates and turnout

The 38 elections were contested by 160 candidates: 38 Conservative, 38 Labour, 38 Liberal Democrat, 4 Plaid Cymru, 6 Green, 17 independents and 19 others. The Democracy Club estimated that 22% of candidates were female.

Turnout averaged 33.2% across the 34 police areas where data is available (measured as valid first preference votes as a proportion of the electorate). Turnout was on average much higher in the Welsh PCC elections compared to the English.

Background to PCCs

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are directly elected individuals responsible for securing an “effective and efficient” police force for their area. Their main purpose is to set the strategy for the police force, and hold it to account. They can hire and, if necessary, fire, chief constables. 

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