Labour's Joy Allen gets her 'dream job' after winning Durham Police and Crime Commissioner vote

Labour has retained control of Durham Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) in a rare bright spot for the party following a bruising round of elections.

Sunday, 9th May 2021, 11:10 am
Joy Allen
Joy Allen

Labour has retained control of Durham Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) in a rare bright spot for the party following a bruising round of elections.

Joy Allen, a former county councillor for Bishop Auckland, saw off Conservative challenger George Jabbour to scoop what she called her ‘dream job’.

But even her victory was fraught, with candidates left to sweat over a recount and the Tories gaining significant ground compared to previous contests for the position.

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Conservative challenger George Jabbour

But Allen insisted a large increase in voter turnout was also a positive for her as she steps into the role.

Speaking after results were confirmed yesterday (Saturday, May 8), she said: “I think this is a really strong mandate – turnout was about double [the previous PCC election].

“We’ve held Labour votes, now we need to build on it and I’m quite excited that [Labour leader Keir Starmer] has a criminal justice background.”

Signalling her backing for Labour’s embattled national leader, she predicted PCCs and the crime agenda would form a key part of the party’s next general election campaign.

Former Durham PCC, the late Ron Hogg

In the meantime, she added her own priorities would be issues such as anti-social behaviour and problem gambling, while also promising to tackle wait times for non-emergency police 101 calls.

Counting for the contest, which took place over three sites, had to be restarted on yesterday after ballots for the Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates were “incorrectly recorded on the final return sheet”.

Allen needed second preference votes from the defeated Lib Dem challenger to win the contest, something which was not necessary in the two elections won by her predecessor, the late Ron Hogg.

But Allen’s combined vote tally of 80,510 was also roughly the same as the total number of ballots cast for all candidates in the last contest, in 2016, following a huge increase in turnout.

Jabbour, the defeated Conservative candidate, also had reasons to be positive after more than tripling his party’s number of first preference votes.

He said: “The increase is higher than anything else we’ve seen in the area – we’ve seen a seismic shift in the results we’ve seen today.

“This is only a small part of the national story, the Conservatives are making gains across the board.”