Cost of police election deters Staffordshire's independent candidates claim critics
INDEPENDENT candidates are being excluded from the race to take charge of Staffordshire's police force because of the high cost of the deposit, it has been claimed.
Elections on November 15 will see 41 police and crime commissioners chosen in England and Wales to oversee force budgets and policies.
Candidates are required to place a deposit of £5,000 to stand for the role – 10 times the amount stipulated in parliamentary elections – which is only refunded if they poll at least five per cent of the total vote.
Circulating election literature comprehensively across both Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is likely to cost a further £10,000.
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Critics say high costs are leading to fears about the politicisation of policing becoming a reality amid a shortage of independent candidates.
In Staffordshire, city councillor Joy Garner is representing Labour, and county councillor Matthew Ellis is standing for the Conservative party.
The poll currently looks set to remain a two-horse race.
Councillor Dave Conway, leader of the opposition City Independents group on Stoke-on-Trent City Council, believes independent candidates are being priced out of the poll.
He said: "I would have loved to have put somebody forward as a candidate.
"It is just unrealistic to be expected to find that amount of money without the backing of a big party. It is a very unfair system."
The number of independent candidates nationally is not yet known as formal nominations do not open until October 8.