The North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner elected in May 2021 resigned on 14 October 2021. On Thursday 25 November you can vote for the next Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for North Yorkshire. As we did in May, we asked all five of the candidates to give us a statement on how they plan to address the needs of disabled people if they’re elected.The five candidates you can vote for are:
- Hannah Barnham-Brown, Women’s Equality Party
- James Barker, Liberal Democrats
- Zoe Metcalfe, Conservatives
- Emma Scott-Spivey, Labour Party
- Keith Graham Tordoff, Independent
Please note that these statements are published as received from the candidates and displayed in alphabetical order by surname. As disabled people, we are aware that sometimes common/mainstream ways of discussing disability can be problematic. We also feel it’s important not to censor people or alter their words.
As a neurodivergent, wheelchair-using NHS doctor, I know all too well many of the challenges the disabled community face in North Yorkshire, and I am determined that in order to improve things for disabled people, we have to have a seat at the table. By campaigning to be Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner of North Yorkshire (PFCC), I will ensure that when it comes to being a voice for the public, disabled people get the best representation at every level.
Key to supporting any community is listening to their concerns– and so if I am elected, I will ensure I maintain regular contact with groups such as York Disability Rights Forum throughout my tenure.
I have been campaigning for disability rights for many years. I regularly appear on local and national media talking about the challenges our community face as a result of the barriers society places in our way; from being left on trains to Blue Badge theft and misuse. I am an Ambassador for My AFK (Action For Kids), which supports young people with learning disabilities into the workplace and provides mobility equipment to those with physical disabilities. I am also an Ambassador for the Eve Appeal, the UK’s Gynaecological Cancer Charity, and have worked to raise awareness of the challenges hoist-using people face when trying to access cervical screening and other physical examinations in GP surgeries.
At the heart of my work is a focus on equality, equity and intersectionality. None of us live in a bubble – as a white disabled queer woman, I know the challenges I face are going to differ from my friends of different ethnicities, for example. That’s why ongoing, two-way communication is going to be the cornerstone of my work as PFCC.
As a community, we face specific additional challenges – disability hate crime rates continue to rise, and disabled people are more likely to be targeted by county lines gangs ‘cuckooing’ in their homes. There are also practical elements that services need to get right the first time, every time – from BSL interpretation to evacuation plans to wheelchair access and more. I understand these challenges better than any other candidate, and will do all I can to ensure they are addressed by our public services in North Yorkshire. You can vote for me, Hannah Barham-Brown, for PFCC North Yorkshire on the 25th November.
James Barker, Lib Dem
At time of publishing, we had recieved no response from this candidate. We will update this post as and when we get a statement.
Zoe Metcalfe, Conservative
At time of publishing, we had recieved no response from this candidate . We will update this post as and when we get a statement.
Restoring trust, rebuilding the frontline
The first task of the new commissioner will be to restore trust. Trust between the public and the commissioner, and between the public and those charged with keeping them safe.
The damage done by previous commissioners must be repaired. I work on the frontline as a student paradmedic, I was raised by parents who worked on the frontline. That connection with the frontline matters. I want to repair those relationships and I want to keep people safe.
North Yorkshire needs a commissioner who recognises people’s concerns and works to address them.
I will take a fresh approach – which will start with listening and paying attention. I will be guided by what victims say, what the public says and what dedicated professionals on the frontline say. I won’t dodge tough conversations or hide from difficult issues or decisions. I will be open, accessible and transparent. And I will make sure North Yorkshire’s police and fire services take the same approach. That fresh approach includes donating 20 per cent of the salary to local causes. And I will make myself voluntarily open to recall in the same way MPs are.
All aspects of my work will be stress-tested to ensure disability rights, safeguarding and the views and needs of people with disabilities are recognised. That will be hardwired into my police, fire and crime plan and it will be something that I will expect the services I oversee to adopt. As will a zero tolerance approach to crime, including hate crime, that targets people with disabilities.
No one should have to fight to be heard. I will be the voice for all people but most of all for those whose views are not being heard. I will be a champion for disability rights as your commissioner.
As an Independent candidate in the election on Thursday 25th November for the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner of North Yorkshire if elected I can work with and for everyone in this great County. I stood in the previous election in May, and as then I am self funding my campaign and again pledge, if elected, twenty thousand pounds each year from my salary will go to local good causes.
As a former Police Officer, businessman and community leader I have committed my life to face down discrimination in all its forms. I am a Patron of Dementia Forward a registered Charity based in North Yorkshire. Disability is a challenge we all may face. I pledge if elected to work with the York Disability Rights Forum and other organisations to champion through the Office of the Police Fire and Crime Commissioners Office the invaluable work you and they do.
I will work with the Police and Fire Services leadership teams to identify roles within the organisation and beyond to provide full and part time employment for disabled people. The work would take in to account the necessary work place adjustments and whether the work could be carried out from home. The same would apply to the Police and Fire Services where employees face medical retirement, including retraining and redeployment where possible.
Not being a Politician, not just words, but real tangible actions and outcomes if I am elected.
To learn more about what North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner does, visit northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk.