Rival Harrogate candidates reject police 'merger plans'

Two of the rival candidates in the race to be the next Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner of North Yorkshire have raised concerns on the effects of the possible creation of a single Yorkshire-wide mayor.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 8:58 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 9:03 am
Conservative candidate Philip Allott, left, who is campaigning to be Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner of North Yorkshire pictured with Policing Minister Kit Malthouse.

Both Conservative candidate Philip Allott and independent Keith Tordoff MBE, say they would oppose any police merger as the build-up begins to election day on May 7.

Mr Allott said plans to create an elected mayor for the different Yorkshire Counties known as ‘One Yorkshire’ should not be used as an opportunity to merge North Yorkshire Police with West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Humberside Police.

Mr Allott, who was educated at King James’ School in Knaresborough, said he met with The Policing Minister Kit Malthouse last Wednesday to argue the case for retaining the existing composition following media speculation.

Mr Allott fears that local policing will become a thing of the past if force mergers take place and would result in large numbers of North Yorkshire officers being redeployed to Sheffield, Leeds and Bradford, which would leave behind an opportunity for criminals to run riot.

Mr Malthouse confirmed to Mr Allott, a public relations expert who studied law in Leeds, that there were currently no plans to merge the different police forces in Yorkshire.

But Mr Allott says he would fight any such plans come what may.

He said: “The policing needs of North Yorkshire are totally different to those of large cities like Sheffield and Leeds and nothing must jeopardise this, ultimately policing must always be about providing a local and bespoke service.

Keith Tordoff MBE, who was a Leeds-based police officer in the 1970s and 80s, said: “I personally support the proposal to create the post of an elected Mayor for the different Yorkshire counties known as ‘ One Yorkshire.’

“It can only benefit the status, reputation and economy of this great county.”

The current chair of Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, Mr Tordoff added: “I strongly believe it is important North Yorkshire Police retains its own identity whilst looking to collaborate and share resources.

“But I would defend North Yorkshire Police to make sure they retain their own identity.”

After leading a campaign to help Pateley Bridge win the title of Best High Street in the Great British High Street Awards in 2016, Mr Tordoff was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the community in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2018.

After serving in the Territorial Army, Philip Allott began his political career in Knaresborough where at the age of just 25 he was elected the Country’s youngest Mayor.

Philip's political experience includes nine years as a senior Harrogate District Councillor, where he chaired a number of committees and subsequently became leader of the Conservative Group.

He stood for Parliament in 2015 and got within 428 votes of winning.