North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner elections: A guide to all four candidates

Traditionally elections for the post of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner have attracted  a low turnout since the role was first created by then Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 1:29 pm
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner elections for North Yorkshire and York will take place on May 6.

Having been delayed by the pandemic in 2020, their rescheduling in North Yorkshire and York for May 6 this year has led to fiercer debate than normal - despite the impossibility of any face to face campaigning or public hustings.

Despite lockdown, each of the four candidates for our county has waded into the debate on a wide range of issues.

From toughening up sentences for assaulting emergency workers to giving police officers tasers, dogs thefts to county lines, cracking down on violence against women to the impact of austerity on the closure of police stations, there has been no shortage of heat amid the Covid winter.

The Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Independent candidates may not agree on much but they are all in the game to win.

History shows that the PFCC race in North Yorkshire and York usually boils down to a battle between Conservative and Labour with the former winning 65,018 votes as opposed to Labour’s 44,759 the last time elections took place in 2016, after second preferences were distributed.

But the role of PFCC has a short past - the first choice last time saw the Independent candidate win 30,984 votes and the Lib Dem 13,856, compared to the Conservatives’ 53,078 and Labour 34,351.

There remains all to play for for this year’s crop of candidates when they go to the polls in just three weeks’ time.

After such an extraordinary last 12 months, it would be unwise to predict anything.

Your Candidates

Philip Allott (Conservative Party)

Yorkshire born and bred, Philip Allott was educated at King James’ School Knaresborough, and studied law in Leeds.

He is the managing director of Knaresborough-based Allott and Associates Ltd a specialist PR and B2B marketing agency, which he founded in 1993 and operates globally.

Should the PFCC elections have taken place during the pandemic?

“Although it was frustrating last year, there was no way the PFCC election could have taken place during the first lockdown; it would have been totally irresponsible in the middle of a pandemic.

“Campaigning was further complicated last week by the very sad death of HRH Prince Philip, which has resulted in a formal break for my party from campaigning.

“As a country we are fortunate that as more and more people have not only have their first but, now, second vaccines thanks to NHS delivery and Government planning, the most vulnerable groups have been protected, making it far safer for the election to take place on May 6.

Do you think it will affect the turnout?

“Local government elections and PFCC elections always have a low turnout. This is compounded by the fact many people may not understand what Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners do, and some TV programmes like Line of Duty have given Police and Crime Commissioners’ powers that they don’t legally have!

“Information provided by the PFCC Returning Officer indicates that a lot of people have applied for postal votes this time.

There are many issues a PFCC has to address. But, if you were allowed to champion only one issue, what would it be?

“I have a six-point pledge encompassing violence against women and young girls to dog thefts. In terms of ranking it has to be County Lines drug dealers because of the danger this poses to everyone in North Yorkshire. “These dealers create a spider’s web, ensnaring vulnerable young people into storing drugs and transporting them around the county. I am determined to smash County Lines.

"If elected I will be supporting North Yorkshire Police and the Yorkshire & Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit to help do that.”

Alison Hume (Labour)

A York-based lecturer and award-winning British TV writer, Alison Hume is the parent of a child with complex disabilities and has been a disability campaigner for 20 years.

In the 2019 European Parliament election, she stood as a candidate for the Labour Party in the Yorkshire and Humber constituency.

Should the PFCC elections have taken place during the pandemic?

“The United States proved it is possible to allow elections to take place safely.

“I am confident that here in the United Kingdom all the necessary steps have, and will be, taken to ensure it will be just as safe for voters here in North Yorkshire to choose their next Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner.

“I am encouraging everyone apply for a postal vote as this is the easiest way to vote in this election.

“After nine years of a Tory PFCC it’s time to elect a visible and approachable People’s Commissioner.

Do you think it will affect the turnout?

“The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner elections have never caught on with the public, which is a shame as an effective Commissioner can make a huge difference to communities.

“This is clearest where commissioners have acted as really effective voices for ordinary people, which has not happened here in North Yorkshire.

“Several years of cuts and closures have seen violent crime rates soar and charge rates for crimes against women and girls remain at a lamentable level.

“I am confident that voters will turn out and vote for change.”

There are many issues a PFCC has to address. But, if you were allowed to champion only one issue, what would it be?

“Violence against women and girls is the issue for our times and the one I am passionate about changing.Many women have lost faith in the police to secure justice. The vast majority of survivors of sexual violence and assault never report to police, and it’s not hard to understand why. The charge rate for domestic abuse-related crime in North Yorkshire in 2019-20 was just four per cent, compared to nine per cent in England and Wales as a whole. This must improve and as PFCC I will hold the police to account and build back trust.”

James Barker (Lib Dem)

A York-based former RAF officer who was deployed to Iraq three times, James Barker is now an RAF reservist.

He is also a scout leader, a qualified rugby coach and as of May 2019 a City of York Councillor where he sits on main planning and licencing.

Should the PFCC elections have taken place during the pandemic?

“We need to think carefully, but life has to continue. Falling Covid rates and rising vaccinations are all well and good, however, we are not out of the woods yet.

“We need to protect the NHS, and those that fall into the vulnerable categories.

“Safe precautions are being taken and the democratic process must be seen to be done.

“Short answer, yes but in the proper manner.

Do you think it will affect the turnout?

“Quite possibly, the Lib Dems have been advocating and informing of postal voting as an option.

“It’s very difficult to complain about something that you are not prepared to vote for change.

There are many issues a PFCC has to address. But, if you were allowed to champion only one issue, what would it be?

“ I could mention that the Lib Dems were opposed to the Government’s move to stifle people’s freedom to protest in its Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, though it did contain some proposals worthy of support, such as maximum sentences for low-level assaults against emergency service workers.

“But it’s a matter of what can actually be achieved with the resources available.

There are many issues a PFCC has to address. But, if you were allowed to champion only one issue, what would it be?

“But one issue stands out, for me at least, that is the non emergency 101 number, which was recently highlighted by an assault on a woman whose reporting of the incident was dealt with less than satisfactorily.

“The issues need to be realistic and follow the SMART acronym (Specific, Measurable, Realistic, Timely). To that end I need to work collaboratively with stakeholders.

“The issues I wish to champion may differ from that of the Chief Constable.”

Keith Tordoff (Independent)

Keith Tordoff served with the police in Leeds for 20 years as part of CID before retiring to become, firstly, a bank investigator and, then, a successful businessman.

He was chair of Nidderdale Chamber of Trade and in 2018 was awarded the MBE for service to businesses and the community of Nidderdale.

Should the PFCC elections have taken place during the pandemic?

“I fully understood and supported the decision to postpone the election for Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner of North Yorkshire in May of 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“It is only right that the election goes ahead on May 6 to elect a new Commissioner who can work with the Police and Fire services to plan for the challenges following the unprecedented events of the past year.

Do you think it will affect the turnout?

“While the turnout to vote in the previous Police, Fire and Crime election was fairly low I am optimistic that people next month will vote.

“Speaking to people whilst I have been campaigning, the feedback I have received is that they are looking forward to being able to cast their votes.

There are many issues a PFCC has to address. But, if you were allowed to champion only one issue, what would it be?

“A Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has many issues to address. I would look to champion that the commissioner is elected to act as the bridge between them, the Police and Fire services.

"The commissioner must champion that by working together - it will help make North Yorkshire a safer place to live, work or visit.

“I served in the Leeds City and West Yorkshire Police forces for more than 20 years, being promoted and leaving with an exemplary service record.

“On joining the Police, I was told that police officers should be non- political, enabling them to represent all in society.

“I strongly believe an Independent Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner will be more widely accepted by the community to represent them equitably rather than someone from a political party. There is almost inevitable room for political interference when a member of a political party is elected to be a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.”

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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