Help shape future of the police force

John Ritchie
John Ritchie

SCARBOROUGH residents are being encouraged to play their part in shaping the future of their local police force.

On November 15, for the first time ever, the public will elect a Police and Crime Commissioner who will be accountable for how crime is tackled in their force area.

The change is coming in due to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 and is aimed at providing stronger and more transparent accountability of the police.

The plans were outlined during a meeting of Falsgrave and Stepney Community and Police (CAP) group, which was held at St Augustine’s School.

Falsgrave Park ward councillor John Ritchie said: “Elections will be taking place in nine months and it’s staggering how many people aren’t informed.

“I don’t have concerns about policing on the ‘shop floor’ so to speak, but it will make a difference when it comes to budget setting.

“We need to keep ourselves informed, read the literature that comes through the letter box and get out and vote on election day.”

Mayfield ward councillor Jane Kenyon, who is also chairman of the North Yorkshire Police Authority, said: “None of us can afford not to embrace this change.

“We have to give it our best shot, because if we don’t, we will be the losers.”

Responsibilities of the new commissioner will include setting the police precept, budgeting and holding the chief constable to account.

They will in turn be scrutinised by a police and crime panel.

Anyone can put themselves forward as a candidate for the position, which in North Yorkshire will attract a salary of £70,000.

People who are interested in finding out more are invited to attend a forum at Scarborough Library on May 9 at 7pm.