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PCC ELECTIONS 2021: Candidates now confirmed, but – boy! – are they male dominated

With less than two months to go to the police and crime commissioner elections for the English and Welsh forces, Policing Insight is launching its in-depth coverage. We’ll be constantly updating our tracker so you’ll be able to check out the candidates as they declare their intention to stand. Policing Insight’s Publisher Bernard Rix takes a look at the field so far.

The rescheduled police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections in England and Wales are set to take place in just under a month’s time, on Thursday 6 May 2021. Policing Insight is keeping a close eye on the various contests, with a dedicated channel and a page for each police area being contested. This latest article takes a look at the confirmed candidate lists that form the content of the ballot papers now being printed.

With 39 to be elected – 35 police and crime commissioners (PCCs), and four police, fire and crime commissioners (PFCCs) – there are 166 confirmed candidates: 39 Conservative, 39 Labour, 39 Liberal Democrat, 11 Reform UK, seven Green, four Plaid Cymru, two English Democrat, one Gwlad, one Propel, one Hampshire Independent, one Lincolnshire Independent, one Zero Tolerance Policing ex-Chief, one candidate for the We Matter Party, and 19 Independents (including one Independent PCC previously elected as an Independent, and one Independent PCC previously elected as a Conservative).

In 2016, there were a total of 188 candidates: 40 Conservative, 40 Labour, 34 UKIP, 30 Liberal Democrat, 25 Independent, seven Green, four Plaid Cymru, four English Democrat, three Zero Tolerance Policing, and one Lincolnshire Independent. Note, though, that these numbers from 2016 included PCC elections in West Yorkshire, which this year will elect a Mayor (with policing oversight responsibilities) rather than a PCC.

Here are details of the 166 candidates for the 2021 PCC elections, split by political party and by force area, and with M or F indicating whether the candidate is male or female. An M or F accompanied by asterisks (*M* or *F*) indicates that the current PCC is running for re-election; just 22 of the existing 39 PCCs are, in the end, standing again. 

PCC Elections 2021: Confirmed candidate numbers by party and gender

Table legend
F – Female          *F* – Female incumbent PCC for re-election
M  Male               *M* – Male incumbent PCC for re-election

C – Conservative
G – Greens
PC – Plaid Cymru
L – Labour
ED – English Democrats
I – Independent & Other
LD – Liberal Democrats
R – Reform UK

Force area Political parties
Number of candidates
and by gender
C L LD G ED R PC I TOTAL Female Male
Avon &
M M F F       M 5 2 3
Bedfordshire M M M   M     M 5 0 5
Cambridgeshire M F M     F     4 2 2
Cheshire M *M* F     M     4 1 3
Cleveland M M M         M 4 0 4
Cumbria *M* F F           3 2 1
Derbyshire F *M* M     M     4 1 3
Devon &
*F* M M M         4 1 3
Dorset M M M F       M 5 1 4
Durham M F F           3 2 1
Dyfed-Powys M F M       *M*   4 1 3
Essex *M* M M   M       4 0 4
Gloucestershire M M M         *M*
5 0 5
Gwent F *M* M       F M
6 2 4
Hampshire F M M         M 4 1 3
Hertfordshire *M* M M           3 0 3
Humberside M *M* M           3 0 3
Kent *M* F M           3 1 2
Lancashire M M M     M     4 0 4
Leicestershire M M M           3 0 3
Lincolnshire *M* F M         M
5 1 4
Merseyside M F M     M     4 1 3
Norfolk M M M M       M 5 0 5
North Wales F M F       F M 5 3 2
North Yorkshire M F M         M 4 1 3
Northamptonshire *M* F F     M     4 2 2
Northumbria M *F* M         M 4 1 3
Nottinghamshire F *M* M           3 1 2
South Wales M *M* M       F F
6 2 4
South Yorkshire M *M* M           3 0 3
Staffordshire M M M     M   F 5 1 4
Suffolk *M* F M M         4 1 3
Surrey F M M         *M*
5 1 4
Sussex *F* M M F       M 5 2 3
Thames Valley M F M         M 4 1 3
Warwickshire *M* M M     M     4 0 4
West Mercia *M* M F     M     4 1 3
West Midlands M M M     M   F
6 1 5
Wiltshire M M F M   M   M 6 1 5
TOTALS 39 39 39 7 2 11 4 25 166 38 128
Female 8 12 8 3 0 1 3 3 38  
Male 31 27 31 4 2 10 1 22 128


It’s quite remarkable just how strongly this ‘long list’ of candidates is male-dominated. Under a quarter of this year’s PCC (and PFCC) candidates are female. Compare that with the House of Commons, where women account for over one third (34%) of MPs; and with local government, where women account for around the same proportion (35%) of councillors.

Take a look, also, at the gender balance of candidates by political party. Of the three parties fielding candidates in all PCC elections, Labour does ‘best’ with around one third of its candidates being female, while the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have both selected women to represent them in under a quarter of their PCC campaigns. Of the other parties, three of Plaid Cymru’s four candidates (75%), three of the Green Party’s seven candidates (42.8%), one of Reform UK’s 11 candidates (9.1%) and none of the English Democrats’ candidates are female. 

Over the coming few days and weeks, and certainly well before the elections on 6 May, I’ll look a little further at both candidates and battlegrounds. For example, how about the ethnic diversity of candidates – representative of society as a whole? Spoiler: almost certainly not, though Bedfordshire seeks to correct the balance.

And where are the election results likely to be the tightest, or potentially the most surprising or hard fought? Spoiler: Bedfordshire again, plus worth keeping an eye on Surrey.

Just three weeks to go before the vote!

NOTE: This article was updated on Thursday 15th April.

PCC Elections 2021

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