The following statement has been issued by four of the five candidates contesting the Police & Crime Commissioner election in November 2012
We have followed the complaint made by a member of the public in North Wales about where Winston Roddick QC was actually living at the time of last year’s election and read the detailed report published last week by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) with growing unease. The complainant (Mr Pollard) voted for Mr Roddick and felt that he had been duped when he discovered that Mr Roddick did not live in North Wales at the time of the election. Unlike Parliamentary and Welsh Assembly Elections, electoral law requires that candidates for Police & Crime Commissioner are registered to vote in the area where they are seeking election – i.e. that they live there.
Mr Roddick has repeatedly failed to be completely open and transparent about why he felt able to stand in last year’s election. He has talked a lot about his undoubted affinity with Caernarfon, which may explain his motivation, but not his eligibility. Unfortunately this lack of clarity continues with the decision of the IPCC to redact all of the addresses in their report. All of this information is already in the public domain and was obtained from public sources by Mr Pollard or was published by Mr Roddick himself in the course of his election campaign.
We therefore urge the IPCC to publish their report unredacted in full so that the public can begin to make sense of Mr Roddick’s claims about his various addresses, rather than put a redacted report into the public domain which gives the distinct impression that there is something to hide.
The IPCC investigation has confirmed that:
- Mr Roddick’s family home since 1986 is in Cyncoed, Cardiff. Up until 5 October 2012 he was registered to vote at this address. Between 2002 and 2009 he was also registered to vote at an address in London.
- Mr Roddick added himself to the electoral register at Constantine Road, Caernarfon on 5 October 2012 solely in order to qualify to stand as a candidate in the election for Police & Crime Commissioner, having been advised earlier that same day that it was necessary to be registered in North Wales by the 8th October in order to stand.
- The Constantine Road address is where his parents lived and is now the home of his brother and his brother’s wife. Mr Roddick and his wife have stayed there regularly over the years.
- Although Mr Roddick claimed that he had “just moved up” from Cyncoed to Caernarfon, the electoral registration (and claim of having moved) applied to him and not to his wife. Mr Roddick described himself at the time as “in transition”, with permanent homes in Cardiff and London but planning to buy a property in North Wales.
Electoral law allows for the possibility that someone is permanently resident and therefore registered to vote in more than one location. But Section 5 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 explicitly provides that “where at a particular time a person is staying at any place otherwise than on a permanent basis [italics added], he may in all the circumstances be taken to be at that time
(a) resident there if he has no home elsewhere, or
(b) not resident there if he does have a home elsewhere [italics added].”
In early October 2012 it is clear from the IPCC investigation that Mr Roddick was not permanently resident at Constantine Road. He did not intend to live at Constantine Road long term, and continued to have not one but two permanent homes elsewhere.
It is therefore also clear that Mr Roddick was not entitled to be registered to vote at that address on the date nominations closed, and therefore not eligible to stand for election as Police & Crime Commissioner for North Wales.
The IPCC has made a significant error in failing to uphold the complaint, and should instead immediately apologise to Mr Pollard and refer their file on Mr Roddick to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether a prosecution is in the public interest.
The substantive complaint (the issue which Mr Pollard tried several times to contact Mr Roddick about in Caernarfon) appears also not to have been investigated and the IPCC therefore also need to look into this failure as a matter of urgency.
Mr Roddick has been given numerous opportunities to clear these matters up. Notably in giving evidence to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee in July 2013, he was asked where he lived and he said he had “homes in various parts of the country because I have practised in various parts of the country, but my home is, was, always will be Caernarfon”.
From the evidence presented by the IPCC, this is clearly a misleading statement. While misleading Parliament is not a criminal offence, it hardly amounts to a tour de force in openness and transparency.
A more accurate summary would be the one that appeared (presumably with his consent) in the S4C 2010 Annual Report: “Winston was born in Caernarfon and although he and his wife have lived in Cardiff for many years, Caernarfon is still very close to his heart”.
In his conversations with electoral services officers in Gwynedd and Flintshire and officers of the Electoral Commission, Mr Roddick made clear that he still had a permanent home in Cardiff. These individuals should all have been aware that if Mr Roddick had a permanent home elsewhere, identifying a temporary home in North Wales was not sufficient for him to be allowed to stand in the election. They were therefore in a position to raise concerns with the Police Area Returning Officer (PARO) at the time of the election – in a way that others were not.
Clearer guidance on the difference between a permanent home and somewhere that a person happens to be staying should be published by the Electoral Commission, and staff urged to raise concerns at the time, so that PCC elections can be run properly without ineligible candidates.
Mr Roddick has sought to portray the complaint lodged against him as an “unwanted distraction”. As the other four candidates in the election, we represent the whole of the political spectrum. We feel that it is important to make this joint statement in the interests of upholding standards in public life.
Winston Roddick CB QC should apologise unreservedly for failing to deal properly with Mr Pollard’s complaint regarding the police. He should now consider whether by continuing in office he is serving the interests of the people of North Wales, of North Wales Police, of victims of crime – or just himself.
The five candidates and Jason Mohammad – Radio Wales Phone-in November 2012