PROFILES: Who is standing in the 2016 North Yorkshire PCC elections?
Four candidates will contest the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election on May 5.
Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are elected by you to oversee how crime is tackled in your police force area. Their aim is to cut crime and to ensure your police force is effective.
Visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk for more information about the North Yorkshire PCC election on May 5 and https://www.choosemypcc.org.uk/area/north-yorkshire for more information on the candidates.
Independent candidate Mike Pannett is a Yorkshire born author and former police officer. He believes that a PCC should be independent and unencumbered by any political allegiances or obligations.
“It was with trepidation that I’ve stepped into this arena but after observing how some party politicians were damaging policing I felt compelled to stand.
“I believe many PCCs have failed pitifully in their core responsibility to represent local people.
“For many it’s been a rocky road littered with complaints, strained professional relationships and financial gaffes which in my view has not only undermined the public perception of PCCs but sadly and collaterally, also the police.
“Some have been a real tonic to policing with commendable work done at national levels inevitably receiving far less media attention.
“I didn’t stand originally, to be honest I didn’t know how the role would pan out or even survive.
“Now for four years we’ve seen a flawed mantra peddled that falling crime justifies losing 19,000 police officers and thousands of support staff.
“Cuts have been implemented by PCC’s with no clue about policing or simple cause and effect while pontificating about ‘efficiency’ and ‘more for less’ while ignoring the bitter truth that policing was being damaged, safeguarding was suffering and criminals were thriving - that’s my reason for standing as an Independent.
“A member of the public recently summed it up perfectly they said “when you see a police officer in the street you don’t expect them to represent a political party, we should have the same expectation of a Police and Crime Commissioner”, no argument from me there.”
Conservative candidate Julia Mulligan will be seeking a second term as Police and Crime Commissioner. She is the first person to hold the post and was elected on November 15, 2012.
“Policing is changing. The next four years will be vital and we need an experienced PCC with a track record of fighting our corner, as well as delivering improvements locally.
“My priorities are:
Boost the frontline – following the announcement to protect police budgets, I will increase officer numbers to 1,400 and PCSOs to 200.
Protecting vulnerable people – as well as £3.2m to better protect vulnerable people including children, older people and victims of abuse, I will ring-fence £600,000 for mental health crisis care to support people in contact with the police.
Support for rural communities – I will roll out ‘Community Speed Watch’ in villages and communities wishing to participate. I will support the new Rural Crime Task Force and increase collaboration to better tackle serious and cross-border crime.
Protecting services via blue-light collaboration – this is common sense. I will share more buildings, back-office administration and governance, to save money and help protect frontline services in local communities.
Improve the ‘101’ service – following my independent review, I will upgrade phones and IT, so you can get hold of people better and improve access to local police by putting contact details on a new police website.
Speaking up for North Yorkshire at the heart of government – I have a track record of speaking out for North Yorkshire and will continue to ensure your voice is heard via my work at a national level. In particular, I will continue my fight for fair funding for rural forces.”
Liberal Democrat candidate James Blanchard is campaigning for a visible, professional and evidence-led policing across North Yorkshire.
“Despite his promises, the Tory Chancellor is cutting funding for our police nationally by £160m.
“I’ll fight these cuts, which will inevitably lead to both council tax rises and cuts in police numbers.
“I want to be a different kind of Police and Crime Commissioner – listening and available to local people.
“With your support, on May 5 I’ll make sure we have an effective, well-funded police force to keep you and your family safe. My priorities are a visible, professional and evidence-led policing across North Yorkshire:
“Many people tell me they rarely see the police in their communities. I’ll make sure that local police officers meet with neighbourhood and community organisations to listen to and address their concerns. I’ll reduce the staff numbers in the Commissioner’s office, which nearly doubled since the old Police Authority, and use savings to protect frontline officers.
“Professional development for our police officers is vital. Once qualified, a Constable can go through most of their career without any further training.
“This is despite the changing face of crime. I will introduce regular training for officers to address new laws and innovative crimefighting techniques.
“We need our police to concentrate on measures that will address crime and the fear of crime.
“I will lead community and restorative justice initiatives that will allow victims of crime a say and bring criminals face-to-face with the consequences of their actions.”
Labour candidate Steve Howley is a firefighter and the leader of the Fire Brigades Union in North Yorkshire. He lists one of his main priorities as preventing cuts to the police service.
“I have experienced how the cuts to frontline emergency services are having a detrimental impact on the quality of service provided to the communities of North Yorkshire. I have witnessed how the views of the public get ignored by key decision makers. This is not acceptable and why I’m standing for the office of Police and Crime Commissioner. North Yorkshire deserves a strong and determined voice, someone who will fight for the best for North Yorkshire delivering an effectively resourced police force there to protect you, your business and your family.
My key pledges:
Genuinely increase frontline officer numbers prioritising neighbourhood policing ensuring our rural areas are not abandoned, clamping down on crime and its causes; Improve dedicated victim support an area currently lacking; Improve road safety with active policing, including working with partner agencies to reduce accident blackspots; Work to reduce the costs of the Office of the PCC to invest back into frontline policing; Ensure that police and fire remain independent, while exploring collaborative working to enable reinvestment into the frontline, without the need for full merger and the additional costs.
“I am the candidate with a proven track record of defending your emergency services. I’m not just the Labour candidate, I’m the voice from the frontline someone who will genuinely fight for your frontline emergency services.
“I will CUT CRIME NOT POLICE.”