North Yorks police commissioner election rivals' different views on idea of anti-social behaviour 'task force'

With under two weeks to until the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner elections take place for North Yorkshire and York, the four candidates have all given their views on how to tackle anti-social behaviour in the county.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 1:13 pm
The North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) elections will take place on Thursday, May 6; the same day as the North Yorkshire County Council Elections.

The debate began when Philip Allott, the Conservative Party’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner candidate, said he wanted changes in how the Police handle anti-social behaviour, which periodically flares up in the more urban parts of North Yorkshire especially in York, Scarborough, Harrogate and Ripon.

Mr Allott, who has made increased attentiveness to anti-social behaviour one of his key election pledges, wants a mini taskforce to be created that can be deployed to hotspots to challenge those involved through educating, issuing anti-social behaviour orders and if necessary, arresting the culprits.

North Yorkshire Police already targets key anti-social behaviour hotspots, identified through intelligence and patrols, but thanks to increased Government funding, North Yorkshire Police now has many more officers. Mr Allott wants these to be deployed to increase police visibility and reassure the public.

He said: "“We are lucky that the perceived levels of anti-social behaviour within North Yorkshire are the lowest of all the police forces within the Yorkshire and Humber Region but this is of little consequence if you, your family or area are suffering from anti-social behaviour."

Alison Hume, the Labour Party's candidate, said the real solution to the problem lay in prevention and the situation had been partly created by Tory cuts to youth services.

She said: "Mr Allot is not unveiling a new way of tackling anti social behaviour, merely describing the current reactive approach by police when ASB has got out of control. Police come in and carry out high-visibility patrols and put dispersal orders in place to deal with groups causing problems.

"The real answer is prevention. If elected I will ensure the police treat persistent anti-social behaviour as a priority.

"Talking about the need to parachuting in a mini taskforce to fire fight problems is an admission that the Tories have failed."

"I will support police to provide an accountable, dedicated and visible Police Officer and Police Community Safety Officer (PCSO) in every neighbourhood who responds in a timely fashion to community concerns and who will provide intelligent, prevention led policing."

James Barker, the Lib Dem candidate said setting up a task force was to ignore the causes of anti-social behaviour.

Mr Baker said: "Anti social behaviour is a problem in modern society. But having a taskforce stood to ready to rush in is not the first or potentially best option.

"Step back look at the reasons for anti social behaviour and allocate resources to deal with it.

"PCOS do sterling work in the communities where they operate and can and do nip trouble in the bud. I'd propose more of the same with the ability to call for support as and when it is needed."

Independent candidate Keith Tordoff MBE said he favoured targeted policing and getting stuck in at a community level to address the problem.

Mr Tordoff said: "A priority in my Police Fire and Crime plan if I am elected PFCC for North Yorkshire will be to tackle anti-social behaviour.

"As a former Police Officer of over 20 years, I spent two years of my service in the West Yorkshire Police Task Force.

"I will support youth, sports, art, drama and gardening clubs so that there is somewhere for them to go, rather than just hanging around on the streets.

"But, for those who are given a chance and still continue to be a nuisance in society, young or old, II would be proposing targeted policing."

Looking back: Result of 2016 election for North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

First Choice Voting: Conservative 53,078 Labour 34,351 Independent 30,984 Lib Dem 13,856

As no candidate won over 50%, the second preferences of the Independent and Lib Dem candidates were distributed to the two leading candidates, giving this final result:

Conservative 65,018

Labour 44,759

Factfile: 2021 North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner elections

The North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) elections will take place on Thursday, May 6; the same day as the North Yorkshire County Council Elections.

PFCCs are elected every four years and are elected representatives who oversee a police force and fire service area.

There will be one PFCC elected for all of North Yorkshire.

The winner will replace the current commissioner Julia Mulligan, who has come to the end of her term.

Factfile: What the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner does

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire is responsible for holding the Chief Constable to account and ensuring that the best policing service possible is delivered to the people of North Yorkshire and the City of York.

The North Yorkshire Police Authority was abolished on November 22, 2012 and replaced with one directly-elected individual called a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

Julia Mulligan was elected to this position, and has been re-elected since.

On November 15, 2018, responsibility for governance and oversight of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service transferred to the Commissioner, whose title changed as a consequence to become the North Yorkshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner (PFCC).

Whilst the Chief Constable retains independence regarding operational policing decisions, the PFCC is responsible for ensuring that resources are used efficiently and effectively and will hold the Chief Constable to account.

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