LABOUR'S Clare Moody has been elected as Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner — narrowly defeating incumbent Conservative Mark Shelford.

Ms Moody said: “Thank you to the voters of Avon and Somerset. Obviously, I am grateful for all those people who voted for me but my job now is to represent all the people of Avon and Somerset and I am honoured to be in that position.”

She said: “The priorities that I have are those that I campaigned on which is about neighbourhood policing, it is around reducing violent crime, and that is particularly knife crime and violence against women and children. And it is also building that crime prevention that saves people from having to suffer from crime in the first place.”

She added: “It was a very close election; it was a very long night. It wasn’t clear all the way though the night how it was going to go. It was very uncertain but I am, as you might expect, thrilled with the outcome.”

Just over 300,000 people across Somerset, Bristol, and South Gloucestershire voted in the election for the person to set the direction of the local police force and hold them to account. But in the end, there were less than 5,000 votes between the two frontrunners.

Ms Moody received 95,982, while Mr Shelford — who was ahead in every council area except for Bristol — received 91,006. Katy Grant (Green) received 64,623 votes and Benet Allen (Liberal Democrat) received 45,864.

Turnout in the election was 23.09% — a drop from 30.72% in 2021 when the election was held concurrently with the West of England Metro Mayor election. This time the only other election happening at the same time was Bristol City Council elections, apart from two byelections in Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Chief Constable Sarah Crew — who attended the election count — said: “Democracy has made its mark tonight. I’m really looking forward to working with the new police and crime commissioner designate to help her build her police and crime plan to help her build on her priorities that have led to her being successful tonight.

“But I am also really grateful for the work that the outgoing police and crime commissioner has done with me, with tackling the issues in Avon and Somerset.”

Mr Shelford said he would not give a comment if he lost.

Despite coming third, Ms Grant said: “It’s been a really solid result — particularly in Bristol where I look forward to a Green lead hopefully declared later today.”