Saturday 12th June 2021,
North Yorks Enquirer

2021 PFCC Election Special 8: After Action Report

The NYE ran a series of Election Special articles covering the elections for the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for North Yorkshire, which took place on 6th May and resulted in a victory for the Conservative candidate Philip Allott (pictured above).

In depth political analysis of an election was a new venture for the NYE. However, the articles have been popular with our readers, who – being intelligent and of an inquiring nature – valued the NYE’s more detailed insight and analysis compared to other media outlets.

In this final article, Tim analyses the outcome of the election.

2021 PFCC Election Special 8: After Action Report

by TIM HICKS

~~~~~

Introduction

PFCCs are elected every 4 years. The election for the next North Yorkshire PFCC was due to be held on the 7th of May 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and was held on Thursday the 6th of May 2021.

In real terms, the PFCC is a more important officer than that of any local councillor, having real power over a large budget and critically important services. Four candidates put themselves forward for election:

  • Philip Allott (Conservative), NYE interview here.
  • James Barker (Lib Dem). Mr Barker given the opportunity of an interview with the NYE, but did not respond to the NYE’s invitation.
  • Alison Hume (Labour), NYE interview here.
  • Keith Tordoff MBE (Independent), NYE interview here.

The outcome was a win for the Conservative Candidate Philip Allott.

interviewed three of the candidates (Philip Allott, Alison Hume and Keith Tordoff) and I felt that all three were good credible candidates that would go down well with the electorate. They were well motivated, intelligent and articulate, completely clear on the issues facing the area and passionate about the role. All of them ran good campaigns with relevant policies, good websites and election leaflets. Best of all, they were all ethical and none of them made personal attacks on other candidates:

  • Philip Allott’s policy document stood out for having a plan tailored for each area of North Yorkshire. He was skilful at interview, his views on a new media strategy for the PFCC were innovative and his campaign videos were very professional.
  • The Labour candidate Alison Hume is a media professional, so her campaign literature was very sophisticated, with separate leaflets for separate local issues. Her illustrated simple to read manifesto leaflet was the best piece of campaign literature issued by any of the candidates. She gave an impressive interview quoting statistics for the areas of failure she wished to address and demonstrated a detailed knowledge of the issues.
  • Keith Tordoff was clearly the outside candidate operating alone and unsupported by a party machine and a big budget. Keith was not intimidated by being the underdog and showed himself to be both indefatigable and indomitable throughout the campaign, as shown by his result. He invested thousands of pounds of his own money and worked hard knocking on the doors and issuing the leaflets. He was untainted by association with a political party and motivated by a desire to continue his long and impressive record of public service. This was important, because it gave the electorate the opportunity of voting for a candidate who was not affiliated to a political party.

Unfortunately the LibDem candidate, James Barker, failed to engage with the NYE. Three requests were made to Mr Barker for an interview and they were all ignored. This may be because the LibDems are ideologically opposed to the concept of a Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner. They advocate dispensing with the role, handing oversight of the police and service to councils and using the funding that was released to pay for improved policing. The NYE arguably has a bigger readership in North Yorkshire than the Whitby Gazette, Scarborough News and the Yorkshire Post, so it was a key media contact for all the candidates. The LibDem candidate’s failure to take up the offer of an interview may be indicative of a poor quality campaign arising from a lack of commitment to the role.

Before impartially analysing the results, I would like to make a personal observation. Our electoral system relies on people coming forward to stand as candidates. North Yorkshire is strongly Conservative, so being realistic; the Conservatives were always going to win. All three of the unsuccessful candidates nevertheless performed an important public service by standing in an election despite knowing they were likely to be defeated. They gave the public a good choice of candidates, ensuring all the issues and viewpoints were raised, thereby making the election credible. To all three I would like to say on behalf of our readers thank you for your work and very well done.

NYPFCC election results 2016 and 2021

The last election in 2016 was run using proportional representation and the results were as follows:

First Choice Voting:

    1. Conservative 53,078 (40%)
    2. Labour 34,351 (26%)
    3. Independent 30,984 (23%)
    4. LibDem 13,856 (11%)

As no candidate won over 50%, the second preferences of the Independent and LibDem candidates were distributed to the two leading (Conservative and Labour) candidates. About 22,482 (17% of the votes cast) of the LibDem and Independent voters chose not to express a second choice. Slightly more of the second choice votes by Lib Dems and Independents went to the Conservative candidate than to the Labour candidate, giving a resounding victory for the Conservative candidate Mrs Julia Mulligan:

Second Choice Voting:

    1. Conservative 65,018 (59%)
    2. Labour 44,759 (41%)

Source: Wikipedia England and Wales Police and Crime Commissioner elections

The 2021 election was also run on the same system. The results were as follows:

First Choice Voting:

    1. Philip Allott (Conservative) 73,657
    2. Alison Hume (Labour) 40,803
    3. Keith Tordoff MBE (Independent) 22,308
    4. James Barker (Lib Dem) 19,733

As in 2016, no candidate won over 50%, so the second preferences of the Independent and LibDem candidates were distributed to the two leading (Conservative and Labour) candidates, giving this final result:

Second Choice Voting:

    1. Conservative 83,737 61%
    2. Labour 53,442 39%

In 2016, the turnout was 22.47%; in 2021 it was 25.47%. Through all of its coverage the NYE encouraged people to vote, so I was pleased to see the turnout increase.

The full election results for England can be seen in this BBC Article.

2021 NYPFCC Election Analysis

The relative movements between the 2016 and 2021 elections are shown below:

Analysis: First Choice Voting:

    1. Conservative 73,657 47% (2016: 53,078 40%) Movement: +20,579 +7%
    2. Labour 40,803 26% (2016: 34,351 26%) Movement: +6,452 0%
    3. Independent 22,308 14% (2016: 13,856 11%) Movement: +8,452 +3%
    4. LibDem 19,733 13% (2016 30,984 23%) Movement: -10,651 -10%

Analysis: Second Choice Voting:

    1. Conservative 83,737 (2016: 65,018)
    2. Labour 53,442 (2016: 44,769)

In all 19,362 or 46% (2016: 22,482 or 50%) of the LibDem and Independent voters chose not to express a second choice.

In 2016, slightly more of the second choice votes by Lib Dems and Independents went to the Conservative candidate (11,940) than to the Labour candidate (10,418). However, in 2017 this trend was reversed and a much larger number of Independent and LibDem voters voted Labour (12,639) than Conservative (10,080).

The 2021 election covered 143 Councils, 13 Mayors, 35 PCCs/PFCCs in England and a bye-election in Hartlepool. There was an overall swing to the Conservatives across England due to national factors unconnected with North Yorkshire. This gave the Conservative candidate a huge advantage.

Taking this into account, in my opinion the 2021 election for North Yorkshire PFCC was affected by the following factors:

  • The PFCC had been Conservative since 2012 and the outgoing PFCC Mrs Julia Mulligan been hit by a series of scandals. You would normally expect the other non-conservative candidates to benefit from a feeling in favour of change amongst the electorate. But this did not seem to happen. Philip Allott ran a very efficient and effective campaign, and benefitted from the national swing to the Conservatives in England. He was consequently able to increase the Conservative share of the vote by 7% and a whopping 20,579 votes.
  • Labour candidate Alison Hume ran a very well organised, enthusiastic campaign, focussing on local issues and increased the Labour first round vote. This was a major achievement, given the national swing to the Conservatives. Even more impressive, she was able to reverse the 2016 trend and attract more second preference votes from Independent and Liberal voters than the Conservatives. Demonstrating that she had popular appeal and was able to prevent the Labour meltdown occurring in North Yorkshire.
  • The independent candidate Keith Tordoff MBE was outstanding and ran a particularly energetic and appealing campaign which struck a chord with the electorate. It is a major achievement for an independent to force the mainstream candidate into fourth place by such a significant number of votes. However he failed to split the Conservative vote, which being realistic about things was his only chance of winning.
  • The LibDem candidate James Barker ran a poor campaign and this is probably reflected in the decrease in the LibDem’s share of the vote by a shocking 13%, resulting in the LibDems being beaten into fourth place. This was the major surprise of the first round voting. It is impossible to tell how the 2016 LibDem voters that deserted the party voted, given that the other three candidates all had increased numbers of votes.

Alison Hume gave the NYE this comment:

“I was delighted to have increased Labour’s share of the vote in North Yorkshire, particularly in York where I secured 59 per cent of the vote, a 5 per cent increase on last time. I was only selected in January 2021 as Labour’s candidate and therefore had little time and minimal resources with which to connect with voters under the Covid restrictions. I am proud of the clear and positive campaign I ran.

I congratulated Phillip Allott in person at the Count and asked him to work tirelessly to stem the flow of violence against women & girls in our county and improve the pathetic charge rate for domestic abuse related crime in North Yorkshire. As a member of the public I intend to hold him and his office to account”. 

North Yorkshire’s new PFCC

Here I quote from PFCC Allott’s official biography:

“Philip Allott is North Yorkshire born and bred and was educated at King James’ School Knaresborough, and later studied law in Leeds, graduating as an LLB. Hons. He is the managing director of Allott and Associates Ltd a specialist PR and B2B marketing agency, which he founded in 1993 and which now operates internationally. Philip is also a qualified GDPR practitioner and a non-executive director of HMCA PLC.

He is married to Sandra and they have a grownup son and daughter plus grandson. Philip is the author of ‘The Donkeyman’ which is a time capsule on a bygone North Yorkshire era and also Integrated Business to Business Marketing, which will be published by John Hunt Publishing, this summer.

After serving in the TA Philip began his political career in Knaresborough where at the age of just 25 he was elected the Country’s youngest Mayor. Philip’s political experience includes nine years as a senior Harrogate District Councillor, where he chaired a number of committees and subsequently became leader of the Conservative Group. He stood for Parliament in 2015 for Halifax and got within 428 votes of winning.

Philip supports the Turn Trust which helps homeless people and also serves on a regional Trust and a number of Yorkshire committees.”

PFCC Allott’s policies

PFCC Allott’s policies from his electoral campaign mandate are set out below:

  • More police officers to keep everyone safe

I will continue recruiting more police officers to increase the size of North Yorkshire Police, increase police visibility and help tackle more crime. I will also recruit more multi-service officers to support the fire service, NHS and police in the more rural areas.

  • Targeting drug dealers and offering increased support for their victims

Drug dealers have no place in North Yorkshire, and I will work with other police forces and partnerships to capture those responsible for drug dealing and lock them up. I will make tackling county lines drug dealers my top priority. These blight our communities and exploit vulnerable young people. This will be done by undertaking a more collaborative approach by working with neighbouring forces and other agencies such as social services.

  • Protecting the vulnerable

All citizens, especially women, have the right to feel protected. I will seek to integrate the CCTV cameras throughout North Yorkshire, allow real time CCTV police access, and increase night time police patrols.

  • Rural crime

I will support and increase the resources available to the rural taskforce which has been created to help investigate and tackle rural crimes across North Yorkshire.

  • A tougher stance on dog theft

Dog theft should be a specific criminal offence with harsher penalties for offenders. There should also be one standard database accessible to vets and law enforcement agencies.

  • Working together and investing in frontline firefighting

I fully support the pooling of ‘backroom’ police and fire functions to allow any savings to be reinvested into frontline police and fire services.

  • Anti-Social behaviour

I will work hard to cut anti-social behaviour in North Yorkshire and York. 

I have identified a plan for each area of North Yorkshire.”

PFCC Allott’s plans for Scarborough, Whitby and Filey are set out below:

“The public have said drugs, anti-social behaviour, burglary, mental health and police visibility are their top concerns. My plan is to:

1 – Development of an increased partnership approach to preventing burglaries and anti-social behaviour including more police time devoted to arresting the minority of individuals responsible for these crimes.

2 – A taskforce to target and break and arrest county lines drug dealers including collaborative approach with housing authorities, railway police, schools and social services to identify people who are currently being manipulated by drug dealers or at risk of being manipulated.

3 – More police officers and increased mobile working to help police officers spend more time in communities across the district.

4 – Greater partnership working with the vulnerable and those with mental health issues to address their needs.

5 – Increased police resources for the rural taskforce which has been created to specifically investigate and manage rural crime.

6 – Greater use of technology especially for the public to contact the police like live chat, online reporting and accessing certain administrative services like licences, to free more resources for frontline services devoted to catching criminals.”

The Oath of Office that PFCC Allott will swear is below: 

I, Philip Allott of North Yorkshire do solemnly and sincerely promise that I will serve all the people in the County of North Yorkshire and City of York in the office of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner without fear or favour.

I will act with integrity and diligence in my role and, to the best of my ability, will execute the duties of my office to ensure that the police and fire & rescue service do all they can to protect the public and keep them safe. 

I will give a voice to the public, especially victims, and work with other services to ensure community safety and aid effective criminal justice. 

I will take all steps within my power to ensure transparency of my decisions, so that I may be properly held to account by the public. 

I will not seek to influence or prevent any lawful and reasonable intervention, rescue, investigation or arrest, nor encourage any action save that which is lawful and justified within the bounds of this office.

The NYE wishes PFCC Allott well in the role of PFCC.

Back to normal

Having worked well with all the candidates to keep the public informed with our electoral coverage, the NYE must now return to its core role of holding the public bodies to account.

The NYE will monitor PFCC Allott’s performance against the above objectives and oath of office and -in accordance with our duty as community journalists- will hold him, the police and the fire service to account. We know our readers would expect no less of us.

When I interviewed PFCC Allott, I asked him about three local issues the NYE has been campaigning on:

  • The refusal of North Yorkshire Police to investigate the murder of a woman in 1979 thought to be from Scarborough. NYE article here.
  • The Chief Constable and PFCC Mulligan’s joint policy of not engaging with the NYE. NYE article here.
  • The Chief Constable’s policy of not prosecuting police officers for breaches of the Coronavirus Lockdown Regulations and being asleep on duty. NYE article here.

Understandably, his response as a candidate was cautious:

“With reference to the items you have highlighted, whilst I am concerned, it is not something I am prepared to make a public statement about until I am acquainted with further information from North Yorkshire Police and that will be post-election if I am elected. 

However, that said you should find me far more media friendly.”

I suspect that addressing the above three issues will be PFCC Allott’s first major public test and will set the tone for his service as Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner. I will follow up with PFCC Allott on these issues and report back in due course.

I can confirm that as a candidate PFCC Allott was very open and helpful in his communication with the NYE. How his relationship with the NYE develops over his tenure as PFCC when the NYE holds the police to account remains to be seen. However, it cannot be very much worse than the repressive relationship his predecessor pursued with the media. This was not just with the NYE. See this Harrogate News article, which carries a very balanced and comprehensive analysis of Mrs Mulligan’s media strategy and asserts that she had an unsatisfactory relationship with all media outlets.


Coming Next

I had thought that following the refusal of her party to automatically nominate the outgoing PFCC Mrs Julia Mulligan as its candidate for PFCC, this would be the end of Julia Mulligan’s political career. However, it is clear that I have completely underestimated her.

Trooper as she is, she has already started her fight back.

This is to be covered in my next article: “Julia Bullygan: The Resurrection Begins”, along with other amazing insider revelations about what has been going on in force headquarters and the OPFCC while she was PFCC.

Right of Reply

If you are mentioned in this article and do not agree with the views expressed in it, or if you wish to correct any factual inaccuracy, please let me know using the letters@nyenquirer.uk email address and your views and a correction will be published if appropriate.

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