PCC candidates pledge to keep it local

Left to right, Labour candidate Ruth Potter,Scarborough Urban Area Forum chairman Ros Fox and Conservative candidate Julia Mulligan at the hustings event. Picture Richard Ponter 124317
Left to right, Labour candidate Ruth Potter,Scarborough Urban Area Forum chairman Ros Fox and Conservative candidate Julia Mulligan at the hustings event. Picture Richard Ponter 124317

North Yorkshire’s police tsars have pledged not to leave Scarborough out in the cold when it comes to tackling crime in the county.

Prospective crime commissioners Julia Mulligan and Ruth Potter told residents they would ensure key issues were tackled, while maintaining and supporting vital services in the town.

Despite spearheading England’s largest county police force, the pair promised to attend regular meetings with local officers and community groups.

But residents, who grilled the candidates at a question time event, remained sceptical - many believing the town was at risk of being swallowed up by the area’s vast geographical scale.

One Eastfield resident asked what their policy would be on handling victims of crime on the estate.

She said: “One of the many things currently happening in Eastfield is bullying. People are intimidated and won’t say anything to police in fear of reprisal. It’s an ongoing issue and police are aware of it. However, they can’t do anything about it as they have no idea how to deal with it.”

Labour’s Ms Potter said she had visited the estate and would ensure more work was done with victim support organisations.

While Mrs Mulligan, of the Conservative party, said she would make anti-social behaviour a priority and would look at putting together a local plan.

Other issues that were raised included appointing the chief constable and police budget cuts, with residents fearing initiatives such as the Street Angels could be axed.

Questions were also asked about the role itself, with some criticism of political alliance and concerns over the lack of publicity for the impending vote on November 15.

However, the event was hailed a success by organisers.

Ros Fox, chairman of the Scarborough Urban Area Forum, which hosted the meeting at the town’s library, said: “I think it was very interesting for our residents. There has been a lot of thought provoking questions. I think what came across the most was localism -that they are quite willing to look at what’s already happening in Scarborough. I think their support for local organisations is good, as well as the way they want to work together. I think as long as there is enough funding they will look after us locally.”

Crime commissioners 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.

Mrs Mulligan is a former local 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.

Ms Potter is a York city councillor who was deputy leader of the Labour group from 2006 to 2010 and worked 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”.

More information can be found at www.scarborough.gov.uk under the ‘Council’ section and ‘Voting and Elections’ page.