A reminder to vote at the double

THE people of Hartlepool are being reminded to use their vote in two important elections tomorrow.

The mayoral referendum will ask voters whether they want to keep the current system of an elected mayor and cabinet or opt for a system of committees made up of elected councillors.

If the majority are in favour of the mayoral system the council will continue to have an elected mayor and cabinet system and there will be an election for the position of mayor in May 2013.

If the majority vote for the committee system, then the mayor and cabinet would be replaced by the committee system from May.

Mayor Stuart Drummond, who became the town’s first elected mayor in May 2002, has previously welcomed the chance for people to have their say.

The other vote taking place is the Police Crime Commissioner elections, which has four candidates in the running for the new title.

The candidates are Sultan Alam (Independent), Barry Coppinger (Labour), Ken Lupton (Conservatives) and Joe Michna (The Green Party) and whoever wins will be accountable for how crime is tackled in the Cleveland area.

Commissioners will have the power to appoint chief constables and to call on them to retire or resign.

Responsibilities include holding the chief constable to account, securing the maintenance of an efficient and effective force, setting the police precept and budget and producing a police and crime plan.

Police and crime commissioner (PCCs) will aim to:

l Cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area.

l Provide stronger and more transparent accountability of the police.

l PCCs will ensure community needs are met as effectively as possible, and will improve local relationships. They will also work in partnership across a range of agencies at local and national level.

Polling stations will be open across town between 7am and 10pm for town residents to cast their votes on both elections.

Polling cards have been sent out informing people where their polling station is and people can either vote in person, by post or by proxy, which means allowing somebody that you choose to vote on your behalf.

In order to have a proxy vote, completed applications must have been submitted to the elections office by 5pm today.

To find out more about the referendum call the elections office on (01429) 523088.