LIVE: Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Riverfield Ward by-election results 2024

Police and Crime Commissioner election 2024 candidate logos
Police and Crime Commissioner election 2024 candidate logos

The 2024 Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2024 elections closed at 10pm on 2 May and today we bring you news live from the Bedford Borough count floor.

Full updates are below. You may need to refresh the page for the latest updates.

There are similar counts taking place in Central Bedfordshire and Luton, but in Bedford residents living in Riverfield Ward also had a Bedford Borough councillor by-election.

We’ll bring you details of both results live on this page.

We’ll be updating this blog live from the count at the King’s House, and as soon as we have a result you;ll hear it here first from the Bedford Independent.

Announcements are expected to come in during the afternoon. You may need to refresh the page for the latest updates.

Latest updates

(scroll down for earlier updates and full results)

13:33, 3 May 2024

And then they were gone…

That’s it for the PCC election count, a smoothly run operation which all the council staff deserve credit for. We’ve had quite a fun morning, and it seems like it’s over too quickly.

Thanks to all our readers for joining in with the chat on our socials, it doesn’t feel like we got into the full swing of things though.

I’ve just said to one of the council’s press team that I feel ‘weird’ kind of like I’ve forgotten something – I guess I’ll go and wonder around the streets of Bedford and see if people need any stories written about them.

A fab bank holiday weekend to you all.

13:33, 3 May 2024

The full results are in:

  • Waheed Akbar (Workers Party) – 8,396
  • Festus Akinbusoye (Conservative) – 35,688
  • Jasbar Parmar (Lib Dem) – 15,857
  • John Tizard (Labour) – 40, 738

Winner: John Tizard (Labour) GAIN from Conservative

Bedfordshires 2024 PCC Candidates (l-r) John Tizard, Waheed Akbar, Festus Akinbusoye. Jas Parmar was not present. Image: Luton Borough Council
Bedfordshire’s 2024 PCC Candidates (l-r) John Tizard, Waheed Akbar, Festus Akinbusoye. Jas Parmar was not present. Image: Luton Borough Council

13:28, 3 May 2024

Turnout for the whole county in the PCC elections was 19.78% – which is the second highest that this reporter remembers, the lowest was 2016 when it was about 18%.

Do people really want, or care, about the positon of Police & Crime Commissioner?

13:20, 3 May 2024

Bedford Borough Council CEO, Laura Church has congratulated the count teams on an efficient and professional count. Claps all around from the floor, and rightly so. They did a great job.

Good practice for any other elections that may or may not be happening later this year. Does anyone know when Rishi is going to call it?

13:17, 3 May 2024

A Labour spokesperson has told the Bedford Independent, that they understand they’re ahead in Luton too. They added, “They’re delighted with the 172 votes they have won by in Bedford Borough.

And that, “Compared to the thousands of votes they were behind at the last PCC election, it shows a real desire for change from residents and that they’re backing Labour for that change”.

13:11, 3 May 2024

We have a result for Bedford.

Turnout, 20.69%

Votes counted: 28,289
Votes rejected: 261

  • Waheed Akbar (Workers Party GB) 1,407
  • Festus Akinbusoye (Conservative) 10,758
  • Jas Parmar (Liberal Democrats) 5,194
  • John Tizzard (Labour) 10,930

Winner (in Bedford only): John Tizzard

That’s a Labour majority of just 172, but a Labour win no less.

12:58, 3 May 2024

Hilde Hendrickx, the new ward councillor for Riverfield Ward has issued a statement on her win.

She said, “I would like to thank all the residents of Riverfield for their support. I have thoroughly enjoyed the campaign. I look forward to serving the Riverfield, Barkers Lane and Goldington Road areas and holding this Conservative administration to account. I will pursue my commitments for safer streets for all, a green and clean Riverfield Ward and support for people and communities.”

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Henry Vann, has also commented, “Despite the Conservatives throwing everything at their campaign in Riverfield – including regular visits by the Mayor – the residents delivered a resounding verdict on their first year in office; residents of Riverfield care about their area and are worried about their council tax bills and decline in local services.

“Thank you to everyone who voted – I know Hilde will be a fantastic, conscientious councillor who will champion all of Riverfield Ward and residents will be able to rely on her all-year round, not just at election time.”

12:58, 3 May 2024

A source has just told us that the bundles on the tables here in Bedford suggest it’s very close between the Conservatives and Labour, almost as close as the MP elections and last year’s Mayoral elections.

We still have the actual final counting to take place yet though, and that’s where it, ahem, counts.

12:36, 3 May 2024

We now have the PCC election turnout figures for the whole of Bedfordshire:

  • Bedford Borough: 20.69%
  • Central Bedforshire: 20.20%
  • Luton Borough Council: 18.33%

12:07, 3 May 2024

Fresh from the floor: Bedford Borough Council's count teams are steaming ahead in counting the votes for the 2024 PCC election.
Fresh from the floor: Bedford Borough Council’s count teams are steaming ahead in counting the votes for the 2024 PCC election. Image: Bedford Independent

12:07, 3 May 2024

So, let’s have a deeper look at the turnout for the PCC election.

There’s a lot of criticism of the role, many believe it’s an unnecessary role and it’s just another chance for the larger political parties to score points against each other.

This may well be a reason why turnout is so low. Other reasons could be the lack of strong campaigning across the whole county from any of the candidates, who seem to have campaigned mostly in their ‘safe and familiar’ patches.

Another could be voter fatigue and/or apathy.

So what does this turnout of 20.69% mean?

Well, in 2021 the turnout was 24.9% across the county. We don’t have the figures for Bedford Borough only, but we have asked the council if they can find out. However, it does indicate a slight drop in interest for the PCC role.

Looking at the last census in 2021, about 79% of Bedford Borough’s population is of voting age. In 2022, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated the whole population of Bedford Borough to be 187,466.

That means that 148,098 are of voting age and of those 38,786 voted yesterday.

That doesn’t seem to be a shining endorsement of the PCC role and the value the general population of Bedford Borough puts on the position.

11:40, 3 May 2024

Turnout for the PCC election is 20.69% in Bedford Borough, we’re not sure yet how other council areas fared and what the turnout is for the whole of Bedfordshire combined.

11:34, 3 May 2024

PCC counting has started.

Four minutes behind.

Of course, this is all said tongue-in-cheek. The counters are steaming ahead already.

11:21, 3 May 2024

We’ve just received a message on the media WhatsApp group from the council press team to say the PCC count will start in 10 minutes.

They’re already one minute behind.

11:10, 3 May 2024

We’ve been told the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner count will start at 11:30.

Bedford Borough Council chief exec, Laura Church has come over to say “hi”. She has refused to confirm if there’s a competition between Bedford and Luton (her former patch) to see who finishes their count first.

Tenner says Bedford smashes it.

10:49, 3 May 2024

I still haven’t got my coffee.

10:42, 3 May 2024

We have a result in the Riverfield Ward by-election:

Three rejected ballots, 1013 votes in total, turnout 34.3%

  • Natalie Christian John (Conservative) 249
  • Hilde Hendrickx (Liberal Democrats) 579
  • Warwick Mackie (Labour) 130
  • Emma Smart (Green) 52

Winner: Hilde Hendrickx

Cllr Hendrickx HOLD for Liberal Democrats

10:24, 3 May 2024

The weather is back to its usual self, grey and wet, but the atmosphere in King’s House is jubilant. Paul Hutchinson here for the Bedford Independent, and we’re live right at the hear of this year’s count for the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner and the Riverfiled Ward by-election.

How long we’ll be here is anyone’s guess, but if the national turnout is anything to go by, and the fact we only have two counts to do, we may be done quite quickly. Smoke me a kipper, I may be back for breakfast*

*Anyone who lived in the 90s will get that.

Right now, I’m just going to get a coffee and see who else is around. We’ve already been visited at the press table by the mayor, cllr Spice (Conservative), Shane Kelly (Labour), and cllr Vann with his party researcher Sharon Crisp (Liberal Democrats).