Philip Allott is the Conservative Party candidate for the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in North Yorkshire.
Commissioners are elected every four years, with the last election in May 2016 and the next election on 7 May 2020. Julia Mulligan is the current Commissioner and is standing down from the role.
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.
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. In the late 1980s he became a Committee chairman on the Harrogate District Council and subsequently leader of the Conservative Group. He stood for Parliament in 2015 and got within 428 votes of winning.
Philip supports the Turn Trust which helps homeless people and also serves on a Trust and a number of Yorkshire committees.
We put some questions to him on his candidacy.
What are the challenges in running a campaign?
The biggest challenge is the sheer volume of people who live in North Yorkshire and how to communicate with them. The population of North Yorkshire is in excess of 600,000 scattered around England’s largest County. Reaching these people requires a physical attendance to canvass, letterbox literature, a digital presence and also the engagement of the media. All these activities require money so my time is spent raising money and then spending it on the campaign. Good communications is at the heart of everything I do so I am also working with MPs, Councillors, members of the Conservative Party and members of the public in both a consultative capacity and also to encourage them to spread the word that I am the official Conservative candidate with a mission to clamp down hard on those who break the law.
With a general election there are caps in how much can be spent, is that the same for the PFCC elections?
The PFCC area covers eight Parliamentary Constituencies, seven of which are held by the Conservative Party. The legal rules on spending are broadly the same but the amount that could be spent is much bigger. With a general election the spending is capped at around £15,000 per candidate. However due to the sheer size of the PFCC area the maximum spending limit for the North Yorkshire area is £111,814 and a non-refundable deposit of £5,000 if you don’t get sufficient votes. To fund this level of spending I have to rely on campaign donations and fundraising events, as there is no central party funding for this election.
Why do you believe you are right person for the job?
I have a background in public service having served firstly in the Territorial Army during the Cold War and then as Mayor of Knaresborough. I have also served on Harrogate Borough Council as a senior Committee Chair. None of those jobs at the time paid very much money but that didn’t matter as I did them to either protect people and/or improve the lives of those who elected me. I also have a law degree which covers criminal and human rights and commercial experience from both my own business, an internationally trading marketing agency and financial knowledge ( I am FCA registered) from serving on a PLC. This puts me in a strong place to set the area police and fire plans and to subsequently scrutinise the £166.6 million annual police spending and to hold the senior officers in both the police and fire service to account. Conversely, whilst I have done some policing in the TA, I have never served as a police officer and therefore come to the role with no prejudices, conflicting loyalties or scores to settle. My goal is simple I want North Yorkshire Police to achieve outstanding status when it is inspected by HMICFRS and this will be achieved through the provision of an even better service.
What influence does being a political party candidate have on your campaigning and if you were elected?
There is a distinct advantage to being a Conservative Candidate because we have a Conservative Government and if elected I will work very closely with the Government to cut crime and to ensure we get all the additional spending promised to recruit new officers including the additional £10.6 million promised in the recent settlement. If you have a Conservative Government and a Conservative Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner it will be a unified team, however if an independent or someone from another political party is elected, communications will inevitably become strained and nothing will be achieved as they will waste time and money blaming each other whilst crime rises, just like the Mayor of London
What things do you see North Yorkshire Police doing well already and what do they need some help to improve on?
North Yorkshire Police is doing a number of things extremely well, for example it is the most successful force in the Country for rape charging rates. It is also rated as good following the last inspection for keeping people safe, good at preventing and investigating crime, operating efficiently and providing sustainable services. However, the force faces challenges over domestic burglaries, County lines drug dealers, anti-social behaviour and violent crime. Using the additional officers that are being recruited and increased spending, I am committed to disrupting and arresting those involved in County lines drug dealing, tackling anti-social behaviour and violent crime and arresting much earlier those involved in burglaries.
Budgets and police numbers are often talked about, what is your view on that?
The total police budget for 2019/2020 is 166.6m an increase of £10 million over the previous year. The Government and current Police Commissioner, thanks to significant additional funding are recruiting significantly more police officers and PCSOs. Earlier this year the Government announced a massive £10.6 million funding increase for North Yorkshire which will be invested into police officers and equipment. The current size of the force is 1,370 police officers, however 50 officers have already been recruited thanks to the Council precept increase last year and a further 58 officers are currently being recruited as the first tranche of the extra 200 officers promised by the Government. These new police officers will work alongside an additional 28 new Police Community Support Officers, who were recruited last year. The plan is to have by April 2021, a total of 1,508 police officers plus PSCOs and the recruitment of further officers the following year. Those leaving the force will also be replaced if they can’t be persuaded to stay with the force longer. I very much welcome a bigger police force as it will allow increased visibility and the ability to get a strong grip on County lines drug dealers, anti-social behaviour, rural crime, burglaries and violence.