North Yorkshire PCC: Candidates say public not informed about role

Julia Mulligan (left) and Ruth Potter North Yorkshire is the only force to be guaranteed a female police crime commissioner

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Candidates to become North Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner have blamed the government for not informing the public about the election.

Elections will be held in all 41 police force areas in England and Wales outside London on 15 November.

The Conservatives' Julia Mulligan and Labour's Ruth Potter are the two candidates standing in North Yorkshire.

Speaking in a debate on BBC Radio York, both said the government had not done enough to inform the public.

Ms Potter said: "The government has made this big change, it was a flagship policy for transparency and accountability but unfortunately they haven't put any money behind it."

Mrs Mulligan said: "I don't think the government has done a very good job in informing people what this is all about."

Analysis

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a county sometimes known for its thriftiness, the debate between the candidates running to be North Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner truly caught fire when the subject of money arose.

Both were asked by a caller to BBC Radio York if they would be prepared to do the job for half of its £70,000 salary.

After a moment's hesitation, Labour candidate Ruth Potter said she would. Conservative candidate Julia Mulligan said no, pointing out that she would have to sell her shares in her successful business in order to take up the post.

Later, the issue of money returned, specifically over how either candidate could successfully discharge their duties in the face of 20% cuts to North Yorkshire Police.

Ruth Potter asked Julia Mulligan if she would be prepared to take on her leader David Cameron over the issue. The Conservative candidate responded by rejecting the figure as inaccurate and accusing her Labour opponent of political scaremongering.

The police and crime commissioner elections have been described as the biggest shake-up of policing in 50 years.

The elected person will be responsible for setting priorities for their police force, overseeing its budget and hiring the chief constable.

Those in the biggest force areas will get salaries of more than £100,000 and no prior police force experience is needed.

Both candidates agreed that turnout was expected to be low in the elections and encouraged people to take part.

Other subjects covered in the debate included the issue of anti-social behaviour and becoming more accessible to older people.

Ms Potter said she was keen to strengthen neighbourhood policing and ensure victims of crime got a fast response.

"I want to maintain the neighbourhood police model and I want to have neighbourhood officers who spend longer time in wards."

Mrs Mulligan said one of her aims was a crackdown on anti-social behaviour and to tackle cross-border crime.

"I want to bring in parish constables, who are special constables in more rural areas to increase the visibility of policing."

North Yorkshire Police is the largest single county force in England with a population of some 800,000 people.

The force has 1,455 police officers, 178 support officers and 989 police staff.

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