On Thursday voters will head to the polls to choose their crime commissioners, who will replace police authorities that are currently in charge of 41 forces in England and Wales.
PCCS, as they are to be known, will be responsible for setting priorities for their police force, overseeing its budget and hiring the chief constable.
North Yorkshire’s candidates, Conservative Julia Mulligan, and Labour’s Ruth Potter, have pledged not to leave Scarborough out in the cold when it comes to tackling crime across the county.
Despite the area’s vast geographical scale, the candidates claim that residents key issues will be tackled and vital services maintained and supported.
As the election draws closer, both candidates have accepted an invitation given by The Scarborough News to give their views and policies directly to our readers.
How we will make a difference by Ruth Potter and Julia Mulligan in their own words
‘People want more feedback on cases’
Ruth Potter is a York city councillor who was deputy leader of the Labour group from 2006 to 2010 and works as operations manager with a York-based community transport organisation.
She has pledged to stick up for communities against the Government’s 20 per cent cuts to police budgets.
She also “supports neighbourhood policing, with officers accessible to the public and embedded in communities” and backs “tough action to stop anti-social behaviour”.
She said: “I was a member of North Yorkshire police authority from 2005 to 2011.
“I represented the authority at regional level and was also lead member for Neighbourhood Policing. I represented the police authority on Safer York Partnership so I bring lots of experience of working in this field.
“I have pledged that my top priority will be protecting Neighbourhood Policing because I believe that people want the police to be a part of their community, a reliable, visible and approachable uniformed presence. If elected I will maintain Neighbourhood Police teams that include PCSOs in North Yorkshire.
“I share the concerns that victims and witnesses deserve a better deal from the criminal justice system and will work to ensure that their needs are always a top priority.
“People also need feedback on the progress of their case. I believe all reports of anti-social behaviour deserve a response within 24 hours.
“The police do so much more than catch criminals, they prevent crime too.
“So I will be ensuring that North Yorkshire Police will continue to work closely with local councils and other agencies, both public and voluntary, to make partnerships work.
“I will get to as many community meetings as possible to hear people’s priorities on the ground.
“I will also hold regular meetings around the county to update residents on my work.”
‘Fewer cautions and more prosecutions’
Julia Mulligan is a former councillor and school governor who describes herself as having “a business background,” running her own marketing company.
She has pledged to set up an anti-social behaviour task force and tackle cross-border crime.
She also said she would announce plans to close Newby Wiske Hall, the force’s Grade II listed headquarters, in a bid to cut costs.
She said: “I’m standing because through my business I’ve seen the devastating effects of crime.
“I’ve also worked hard at understanding Scarborough’s local concerns; people don’t want resources going to York. We also need a fresh approach as there have been too many scandals.”
“My priorities will be to:
“Improve lives by tackling anti-social behaviour
“Anti-social behaviour accounts for nearly half of crimes, Scarborough included. We need fewer cautions and more prosecutions for anti-social behaviour.
“Protect Scarborough with a crackdown on cross-border crime
“About a third of criminals arrested for crimes here come from other areas – and it’s a particular problem in rural areas. I will strengthen systems to reduce cross-border crime.
“Focus on the frontline, including rural areas
“Introduce ‘Parish Constables’; Special Constables with full powers of arrest based in villages and rural areas. I will focus resources on the frontline, for example by redeploying police HQ, which costs around £820,000 a year to more modern, cost-effective facilities. Over time, this will help protect jobs and focus resources on frontline policing.
“Stand up for you – be your champion
“I will work to understand what’s important to you locally and I will help ensure the police deliver for you.”
Anyone receiving a postal vote pack should ensure it is returned soon as possible.
Anyone not casting their postal vote until the day of the election should return it in person to Scarborough Town Hall by 10pm on Thursday.
Poll card letters were issued two weeks ago to electors who are eligible to vote.
Anyone who hasn’t received their letter should contact the elections office to check they are registered.
Polling stations will be open next Thursday from 7am until 10pm.