Elections in May - Mendip Matters - 18th March

You may know that on May 6th in Mendip you will be able to vote for who represents you as Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, or PCC. There will be some local bi-elections taking place too.

The PCC oversees your local police force, so voting is important to make sure the representative prioritises the things that matter to you. You can find out more here: www.avonpccelection.org.uk.

Over the past few days, the issues of policing and safety on our streets have been thrust into the limelight. We have all been saddened and shocked by the disappearance and death of Sarah Everard in London, and no doubt many of you have been following the subsequent debates on media channels around the police handling of the vigil this past weekend.

The issues around people, especially women, feeling safe on the streets are very real, even in Mendip. We have our own problems too of course, including serious drug-related crime and the crimes impacting rural life such as theft and fly tipping. I believe more community policing is needed to make us all feel safer in our homes and on the streets.

Make sure you are registered to vote to have your say on who represents us as PCC – the deadline is 19th April. It takes just five minutes: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

I believe there will be an increase in postal voting this year with people a little more reluctant to vote in person due to the pandemic. You can apply for a postal vote here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote.

Rest assured though, that polling stations will be safe and covid-secure if you do prefer to make the traditional trip to your polling station to vote in person.

As we approach the election, the Council will be entering what was always previously known as ‘purdah.’ This intriguing, exotic-sounding term translates as ‘curtain’ or ‘veil’ and refers to a custom found in some Muslim and Hindu cultures of keeping women from being seen by men or strangers.

These days it is known more literally as the ‘pre-election period’ and describes the period between the time an election is announced and the date the election is held. It mainly impacts on the way in which government – local and national – can communicate when it relates to publicity. Put simply, it’s to make sure public money is not spent potentially influencing an election result.

As this is a personal column, I’ll be with you throughout this period, so please continue to get in touch if you have any questions for me. My Facebook page is: @Ros.Wyke, and my email is: [email protected].

Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council

Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: [email protected].

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