Conservative Zoe Metcalfe wins North Yorkshire Police and Fire Commissioner by-election and vows to rebuild trust in role

North Yorkshire’s new Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) Zoe Metcalfe has vowed to rebuild trust, openness and transparency in the role after she won a by-election last week sparked by the resignation of her predecessor Philip Allott.

By Victoria Finan
Monday, 29th November 2021, 9:43 am
Updated Monday, 29th November 2021, 9:44 am

Conservative councillor Ms Metcalfe won the by-election by almost 15,000 votes once first and second preferences were accounted for.

She gained 41,760 first and second preference votes in a by-election that saw turn-out reduced to 13.94 per cent.

The by-election was called after Mr Allott resigned amid widespread furore at comments he made about violence against women and girls.

Speaking after her victory, Ms Metcalfe said: “I feel humble and privileged to stand here as your new Commissioner." Picture: Tony Johnson

In a media interview, Mr Allott, who himself was only elected to the role in May on a turnout of 25 per cent, said women should be “streetwise,” and know their rights about being arrested, in the wake of the false arrest of York woman Sarah Everard by her murderer Wayne Couzens.

The comments caused criticism across the political spectrum with the Prime Minister said to be “outraged,” and a subsequent vote of no confidence in Mr Allott by the region’s Police and Crime Panel led to his resignation.

The by-election result was announced after a count at Selby Civic Centre. Labour’s candidate Emma Scott-Spivey came second with 26,895 votes on first and second preference.

Speaking after her victory, Ms Metcalfe said: “I feel humble and privileged to stand here as your new Commissioner.

“I’m going to be open, visible and transparent - and I’m going to be out there promoting the great work the police and fire service do, and also the office of the PFCC.

“It’s about listening - and that’s a skill I have in bucket-loads. It’s about listening to those victims and engaging with them on our policies.

“There are some challenges going forward. Rural crime is increasing and that’s something I’ll be focusing in on.

“We have our challenges in North Yorkshire. I’m really looking forward to working with the police and fire services to tackle these issues.”

Ms Metcalfe made significant efforts to distance herself from her predecessor during her campaign, which centred on a pledge for “urgent action” against violence against women and girls in York and North Yorkshire.

And she confirmed on Thursday that she had not spoken to Mr Allott throughout the campaign.

She also confirmed that she would be standing down from her seats on both North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council at local elections next Spring.

The result was called just before 5pm yesterday evening after a further count where second preference votes were taken into consideration.

Under the Supplementary Vote system, voters are able to indicate their first and second preference for PFCC roles.

If no candidate wins more than 50 per cent of first choice votes, second preferences are taken into account.

The Liberal Democrat, Women’s Equality Party and Independent candidates were eliminated after the first round of voting.

Liberal Democrat James Barker won 9499 first choice votes, the Women’s Equality Party’s Hannah Barham-Brown won 8837 votes, while independent candidate Keith Tordoff won 14,988 votes.

Speaking after her defeat, Emma Scott-Spivey, a student paramedic, told the Yorkshire Post: “Rather than disappointment, I feel overwhelmingly proud.

“We have an abundance of victims in North Yorkshire and the least we can do is make sure their experiences are heard.

“I’ll definitely be keeping the pressure on, along with the local Labour party, to ensure Zoe Metcalfe does her job justice.”