Victory for Alison Hernandez as she secures a third term as Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall

Alison Hernandez has secured a third term as the police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, writes local democracy reporter Bradley Gerrard.

Votes from across the Devon and Cornwall police area were collated at the vote count in Plymouth’s Life Centre, with Ms Hernandez clearly beating her rival candidates, Daniel Steel (Labour and Co-operative Party) and Steve Lodge (Liberal Democrat).

In her speech after the win, Ms Hernandez said she was “really delighted” that the region’s voters had backed her.

“I think it shows that when you focus on the things that are the people’s priority, people will come out and support you and say they’re on your side,” she said.

“Together, with taxpaying residents, we have done things as a team in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

“We’ve worked together to take drugs off our streets through better intelligence, we have recruited a record number of police, we’ve re-opened police stations, something which people expect, and we’ve taken dangerous drivers off the roads, although we still have a big job there.

“And we have got prisoners building homes for the homeless.”

The result means Ms Hernandez retains her long to-do list, with prominent ongoing issues such as the Devon and Cornwall police force remaining in special measures, and its chief constable Will Kerr still suspended.

Investigations into the conduct of Mr Kerr have ground to a halt – nine months after he was suspended on full pay from his £170,000 a year job.

Ms Hernandez has spoken of her frustration at the pace of the inquiry, with taxpayers footing the bill for the salaries of two chief constables during those nine months.

Last summer it was revealed that a criminal investigation had been launched into sexual assault allegations against the chief constable, who is a former assistant chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Mr Kerr strenuously denies the allegations and says he will co-operate with any investigation.

During his suspension, the Devon and Cornwall force has been run by an acting chief constable.

In terms of the PCC election, while Labour’s Mr Steel secured wins in Plymouth and Exeter – cities which proved fruitful for the party in the local elections – Ms Hernandez secured Torbay, Teignbridge, West Devon, South Hams, North Devon, Torridge, Mid Devon, East Devon and the Isles of Scilly.

At the time of going to press, Cornwall had not published its result although had declared it to the returning officer.

A total of 308,607 votes were placed, equivalent to 22.5 per cent of the potential electorate within the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency.

Ms Hernandez took 131, 764 votes, Mr Steel took 107,897 and Mr Lodge 64,790.

The number of votes is a steep drop compared to the 2021 election, when Ms Hernandez secured her second term in office.

Then, the turnout was 494,627, or 36.1 per cent of the electorate.

Commentators at the count suggested the lack of local elections in Cornwall would likely have been a contributing factor to the low turnout, with just the PCC ballot at Cornish polling stations.

In Devon and Cornwall, the salary set for the police and crime commissioner as of May 2022 is £88,600 per annum.

Election special: Three-way battle on May 2 to become Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – what the candidates propose to do if they win your vote