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Basildon schools refuse to hosts police commissioner elections

First published in Echo News

SIX Basildon schools have refused to host elections for the new police and crime commissioner.

Elections for the new role – which will replace the current police authority system – will take place on November 15 this year.

However, a dozen schools in the borough have told Basildon Council they won’t close and therefore can’t be used as polling stations.

The six which have written to the council to say “no” are Briscoe Primary School, in Felmores End, Pitsea, Ghyllgrove School, in Ghyllgrove, Basildon, Fairhouse School, in Long Riding, Basildon, Wickford Church of England School, in Mount Road, Millhouse School, in Tavistock Road, Laindon, and Mayflower School, in Stock Road, Billericay.

The council had hoped to use the same facilities as it does for local and general elections.

Pat Rackley, Labour councillor for St Martin’s ward, has also formally written to Basildon Council to oppose both Ghyllgrove and Fairhouse schools being used for the elections.

She said: “I think it’s just outrageous to shut down schools for the day, so children miss out on their education, for this election.

“Some schools have already been closed once this year, for the local council elections in May. I don’t think children should have to sacrifice their education again for this.

“Both Ghyllgrove and Fairhouse not only have junior schools on their sites, but have infant schools as well, so both would have to be closed for this.

“There is absolutely no reason why something like the George Hurd Centre could not be used for this, which would not cause inconvenience to children and their parents.”

The new police and crime commissioner will take responsibility for holding the county’s force to account, helping cut crime and setting the budget.

Elections for the role will be held in the same way ballots to elect councillors take place. In response to Mrs Rackley, Basildon Council’s elections office asked for suggestions of alternative venues in wards where schools have refused to take part.

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