New North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to remain as councillor until May elections

The new North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has announced she will remain in her other roles as county and borough councillor until the next election in May.

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 1:58 pm
Conservative Zoe Metcalfe was elected as the new North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner last month.

Conservative Zoe Metcalfe said she would not quit North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council in a move which would trigger a by-election, but would begin "standing down" from most of her responsibilities.

A spokesperson for her office said: “Commissioner Metcalfe intends to devote herself full time to the role of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

“She is standing down from - or, as far as possible, arranging substitutes for - her other roles and activities, including any committee and sub-committee responsibilities connected with her roles as an elected member of Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council.

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“As she has already made clear, commissioner Metcalfe will be relinquishing her council seats at the next election in 2022 – avoiding the need for by-elections in the meantime."

Commissioner Metcalfe is the third Conservative to take on the £74,000-salary role since it was created in 2012, and won with 41,760 of the first and second-preference votes in a by-election last month.

She finished ahead of Labour's Emma Scott-Spivey who got a total of 26,895 votes, putting her in second.

The ballot was triggered after the previous commissioner, Conservative Philip Allott, resigned following criticism over comments he made after the murder of Sarah Everard.

Mr Allott, who was elected in May, stood down in October after his comments on BBC Radio York led to public complaints and a vote of no confidence by the county's crime panel.

More than 1,000 complaints were made after he said women should be more "streetwise" about powers of arrest and that Ms Everard should not have "submitted" to arrest by the police officer who murdered her.

Commissioner Metcalfe said in order to regain trust in the office following Mr Allott's resignation she would be "open, visible and transparent in promoting her work".

She will hold her first public accountability meeting today, 7 December, when she will focus on organised crime and fire safety for businesses.

As well as being a councillor for the Knaresborough area, commissioner Metcalfe also works as a project manager for York-based property management company Citivale Limited.

She said in her declaration of interests that she would leave this role after serving a period of contractual notice until the end of the year.

She said: "During that period of contractual notice I will ensure that work in the project manager role is undertaken in a manner and only at times which neither overlap nor interfere with my duties as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter