Alun Michael wins South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner vote
SOUTH Wales Police's first elected commissioner is Alun Michael.
The former MP failed to win an overall majority in the first round of counting after a strong challenge from independent Mike Baker, but once the second preferences were counted, the Labour candidate emerged victorious.
Turnout across the force area was just 15 per cent, which turnout in Swansea of 12.77 per cent and Neath Port Talbot of 16.15 per cent.
As commissioner Mr Michael will control the force's £250 million annual budget, decide policing priorities and have the power to hire and fire the chief constable.
Speaking at the declaration in Port Talbot's Princess Royal Theatre he said: "I pledge to represent the whole population of South Wales without fear or favour, or bias - to hold the police to account and to protect police from political influence."
Mr Michael, a former Police Minister under PM Tony Blair, takes control on November 22 when the South Wales Police Authority — the body which currently oversee's the force — is abolished.
Mr Michael polled 66,879 first preference votes, to Mr Baker's 46,264. Conservative Caroline Jones received 20,913 while independent Tony Verderame polled 8,378. Mr Michael and Mr Baker then went forward into the next round, where the second preferences of those who voted for the bottom two candidates were counted abd redistributed.
When first and second preferences were combined, Mr Michael won 72,251 votes to Mr Baker's 60,784.
Neither Plaid nor the Lib Dems candidates stood in the election.
Each force in Wales and England outside London has elected a police commissioner.
The UK Government say the new posts will make the police more accountable the communities they serve, but critics warn of the politicisation of policing.
Home Secretary Theresa May has insisted commissioners will not interfere with the operational independence of chief constables.