THURSDAY May 6 is election day.

No, you won't be able to choose new councillors - not in York, at any rate. But you will be able to elect a new Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

Commissioners are elected every four years. There is a single commissioner for the whole of North Yorkshire. Their job is to hold both the police and the fire service to account.

The responsibilities of the £74,400-a-year job include:

  • ensuring an efficient and effective police force and fire service
  • appointing the Chief Constable and Chief Fire officer, holding them to account and, if necessary, dismissing them;
  • setting the police and crime objectives through a police and crime plan, and the fire and rescue objectives through a fire and rescue plan;
  • setting the budget and determining the precept (the amount we all pay towards the police and fire service through council tax) for both the the police force and fire service.

York Press:

The Police and Crime Commissioner role was set up in 2012 to replace the old police authority. Responsibility for the fire service was added in 2017. Conservative Julia Mulligan has held the commissioner's role in North Yorkshire since 2012, but is not standing for election this time.

So who are the candidates for this important post?

There are four. We put a series of questions to each...


York Press:

Philip Allott

What are the key issues facing the police and fire service in North Yorkshire?

North Yorkshire Police face many challenges, including violence against women and girls, county lines drug dealers, anti-social behaviour, concerns about dog thefts and rural crimes. Allied to this there are a number of other issues such as a consistent 101 answering service and officer retention.

The way the funding formula works counts against North Yorkshire Fire Service. I have already raised this at ministerial level, and if elected will consult on raising the fire precept as I want the service to have better equipment. In addition many people now work significant distances from home making it hard to recruit retained firefighters. To address this I am looking at extending multi-service officers, this involves the employment of full time officers who are a combined reserve firefighter, a member of the local policing team and a medical first responder.

If elected, what will your key priorities be?

The recruitment of further police officers, all centrally funded. The targeting of county lines drug dealers and more support for their victims, working with local authorities to provide integrated CCTV cameras throughout North Yorkshire and York with real-time police access to protect the vulnerable, especially women. A tough stance on dog crimes. Further resources for the rural police taskforce to target those who commit illegally kill animals and steal farm machinery.

What are your qualifications for the role?

I served in the RCT (Royal Corps of Transport) as a reservist and subsequently went on to study law . I founded my own business, have PLC board level experience and have previously served as a senior councillor.


York Press:

James Barker

What are the key issues facing the police and fire service in North Yorkshire?

The sheer size of the county and it’s rural nature, under funding by central government reducing the amount of frontline policing and more recently policing the pandemic. Although we are seeing an uplift in police numbers there are still officers leaving the service and retiring daily.

For the fire service, redressing the under-investment in the estate and operational equipment. The appointment of a new chief fire officer and managing rural fire and rescue teams are also issues that need to be managed properly.

If elected, what will your key priorities be?

Improving the non-emergency 101 number for reporting incidents. Increasing police visibility in both city and rural communities in England’s largest county. Strengthening partnership working between the police and local communities, who are often best placed to identify the measures needed to ensure that residents feel safe. I would also want to develop an approach through which the police work more closely with local education, social care, mental health, drug and alcohol and other services to ensure that people have the help and support they need to build lives free from crime.

I would want to build a resilient, professional and diverse police and fire service. I want to bring openness and transparency to its operations and make the case for adequate funding.

What are you qualifications for the role?

I have not been a police officer, but have served my country for over 25 years through the military including three tours to Iraq. I currently serve my community as a ward councillor in York and through my engagement with the scouting community.


York Press:

Alison Hume

What are the key issues facing the police and fire service in North Yorkshire?

The Conservatives have cut our police to the lowest level in a generation. On their watch in North Yorkshire violent crime has shot up 103 per cent since 2014-5. North Yorkshire is one of the worst hit counties for rural crime - a 23 per cent increase from 2018 – 2019. These are just some of the depressing statistics. I would fight for a fairer share of the national funding pot.

I will also campaign to increase national funding for our seriously underfunded fire service which has suffered a 17.3 per cent cut over the last five years and is the second worst-funded in the country. It is facing a £500,000 deficit, crumbling estate, ageing equipment and, probably worst of all, a slump in morale.

If elected, what will your key priorities be?

Before setting my Police, Fire & Crime plan I would set myself a target of meeting with a minimum of 10,000 individuals across York and North Yorkshire in town and village hall meetings, round-tables and online surveys to fully understand what priorities should be.

Lockdown has seen an escalation in domestic violence. A key priority would be to work with agencies, stakeholders and others on a strategy to drive down violence against women and girls and improve trust in the police.

I will put disability rights and wildlife crime on my priority list alongside pledges to introduce an embedded police officer and PCSO in every neighbourhood, to expand the rural crime taskforce, and to tackle county lines organised drugs groups by supporting the creation of a new specialist enforcement unit.

I will order a day one review into the recent merger of police and fire back office staff, which saw the creation of another high salaried position while the frontline suffered further cuts.

What are you qualifications for the role?

My professional background in broadcast journalism and screenwriting gives me the ability to ask the questions that need to be asked and to set new priorities. I consider it a positive advantage not to have served in either service although I hold the greatest respect for those who do. It means I can be completely independent and not influenced by past professional relationships and ways of thinking.


York Press:

Keith Tordoff

What are the key issues facing the police and fire service in North Yorkshire?

The large geographical area and over six thousand miles of roadways the police and fire services have to protect.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is the second worst funded in the country. The knock-on effect is deteriorating buildings, old fire appliances and well used equipment. There are also issues on the recruitment and retention of on-call firefighters. If elected I will submit the case to council and government for an increase in the budget.

If elected, what will your key priorities be?

  1. Ensuring that every crime and complaint 'matters' so people know that it is being investigated.
  2. More police officers.
  3. Anti-social behaviour and knife and drugs crime: new initiatives to tackle anti-social behaviour, including engaging with young people. Zero tolerance on knife crime and drug dealers.
  4. Rural and wildlife crime: new initiatives including covert policing and the latest technology.
  5. Abuse, bullying, harassment and online fraud.
  6. Road Safety.
  7. Improving efficiency. I would look to improve the 101 and reporting systems.

What are you qualifications for the role?

I was a police officer in the West Yorkshire force for more than 20 years. I was a beat officer, and served in the Task Force, the CID, and as a firearms team leader. I also worked as a fraud investigator at the Bank of Scotland for 10 years.

I have two close relatives who are firefighters which has given me an understanding of protocols and procedures. I am self funding my campaign as the only Independent candidate. There should be no place for politics in policing.