James joined the Lib Dems while studying at Leeds University and served as a councillor in Kirklees between 2011 and 2015. He currently lives in York and has worked for a number of major regional companies and organisations in senior communications and campaigning roles.
James will fight the election for the York and North Yorkshire Liberal Democrats on 5 May 2016.
James Blanchard commented:
I will work hard to restore people’s trust and confidence in the police. The current Police and Crime Commissioner has nearly doubled back-office staffing costs compared to the old Police Authority, and is spending a lower proportion of the force’s money on front-line policing than the national average. This has to change. I will protect front-line policing.
Despite Government promises to protect police funding, her colleague in the Conservative party – Chancellor George Osborne – is cutting national funding for policing by £160m. I will fight these cuts as they will inevitably lead to council tax rises, further station closures and cuts in officer numbers.
Crime is changing, with many criminals moving online. I will invest in training so that officers can continue to keep across new laws and crime-fighting techniques. How we organise our police to meet these challenges is key to the safety of everyone living in York and North Yorkshire.
We need our police to concentrate on measures that will address crime and the fear people have of crime. I will lead more community and restorative justice initiatives, that will allow victims of crime a say and bring criminals face to face with the consequences of their actions. Unlike the Conservatives and Labour, who make empty promises about being ‘tough on crime’, this is about truly being ‘tough on the causes of crime.
Cllr Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Group Leader in York, commented:
I am delighted that James is standing for this role and I wish him all the best with his campaign in the coming months. North Yorkshire Police do a great job in difficult circumstances and it is important that we have a PCC who understands the issues and the things that matter to local residents.
It is great to have James Blanchard standing in North Yorkshire and York for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, he has a great wealth of experience and the necessary skills to do the job of holding the Chief Constable to account.