Yesterday evening (22 November 2021) the Independent Domestic Abuse Society (IDAS) hosted an online hustings event with the 5 candidates standing for the role of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) of North Yorkshire.
There are elections on 25 November 2021.
For a hustings to work well it is important that it is run with fairness and impartiality, giving equal time to each candidate. IDAS made the decision that the event should be hosted by the former Conservative Party, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan.
A spokesperson from IDAS said:
Julia Mulligan is our Chair of Trustees and is not a member of any political party and hasn’t been for many years.
Julia was very vocal about Philip Allot’s comments following the murder of Sarah Everard and understands the issues around ending violence against women and girls very well, as both a professional and a survivor herself.
To watch the event:
The hustings didn’t really develop the debate around violence towards women and children – it is a complex area, that has many aspects to it, but more often debate is focused on street violence.
From the hour-long meeting, it failed to really explore causes, to clearly define aspects of the violence or to really talk in any depth about solutions.
Although the meeting began with asking each candidate the same question, the consistency soon changed, with both the Libdem and Labour being singled out for questions not given to others. Emma Scott-Spivey was questioned on what services she would drop to pay for further policing for violence against women. When questions arose around police numbers in the county, Julia Mulligan directed that to the conservative candidate, Zoë Metcalfe, but then just smiled and said a different figure herself.
Emma Scott-Spivey, Labour made a strong point that the problem shouldn’t be made the responsibility of the victim with such actions as having to put tops on bottles or glasses, while on a night out.
Keith Tordfoff, Independent, was in favour of better training and a return to more specialist officers to identify and deal with violence, particularly domestic violence
Hannah Barham-Brown, Women’s Equality Party is calling for an independent inquiry to look at how North Yorkshire Police works towards women.
Zoë Metcalfe, Conservative Party said that she is a believer in education of young people as the long-term solution to the problem.
James Barket, Libdem Party, says he is an advocate of greater and easier reporting routes for victims.
A spokesperson from IDAS said:
All five candidates attended the Hustings to discuss their plans should they be elected on 25 November, the UN Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women & Girls.
The event was attended by over 100 people and more than 40 questions were posed to the candidates during the session, covering concerns around victims confidence and engagement with court proceedings, the link between firearm possession in rural areas and domestic abuse incidents, and how the candidates would support marginalised groups to name a few.
IDAS decided to host the hustings following the resignation of former Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner Philip Allot for his appalling comments in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard.
The Hustings gave each candidate the opportunity to talk about their priorities and the actions that they would take to improve the response to and support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
As an independent charity, supporting many thousands of victims and survivors across North Yorkshire each year, we are pleased to have been able to provide this platform for such vital conversations which we hope will assist the public in making an informed decision on voting day.