Candidates aiming to succeed controversy-hit Philip Allott and Julia Mulligan as North Yorkshire and York Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner have just five weeks to convince the public they can rise to the challenge of the role, it has emerged.
Electoral officers have confirmed residents will go to the polls on Thursday, November 25, following last week’s resignation of Mr Allott just 134 days after he started in the £74,400-a-year job, if the election is contested.
Candidates are expected to put themselves forward this week ahead of being given a briefing by electoral officers on Monday.
Those taking over ensuring the police force, which employs 1,370 officers, and 38-station fire service, are properly run face intense scrutiny as they serve about 824,000 residents.
Mr Allott received condemnation over comments he made about women’s safety, while his predecessor, Tory and fellow former public relations boss Mrs Mulligan did not contest the election after facing criticism over her behaviour towards staff.
While rates of violence in North Yorkshire are lower than neighbouring counties, recent months have underlined rural and road crime remain two of the biggest issues for residents.
It remains unclear how many candidates will stand next month, but the previous two elections for the roll have each seen four people fight to serve about 824,000 residents.
May’s election saw Mr Allott secure 73,657 first round votes, Labour’s Alison Hume 40,803, Independent Keith Tordoff 22,338 and James Barker of the Liberal Democrats, 19,773.
In 2016 Mrs Mulligan ultimately received 65,018 votes while Labour candidate Steve Howley polled 44,759 votes. Four years earlier Mrs Mulligan beat Labour’s Ruth Potter by 47,885 votes to 34,328 votes.
Conservative candidates have won all three elections for the role since it was launched in 2012, and by an increasing number of votes each time.
Senior Tory sources said its candidate to replace Mr Allott would be considered in the next few days. While some former candidates have ruled themselves out, the sources say, it remains unclear who will stand.
Following Mr Allott’s resignation Ms Hume did not declare whether she intended to stand, but said the area needed a commissioner who would “make sure violent men are taken off our streets” and one that “can reassure women they are safe to put their trust in male police officers”.
Janet Waggott, Selby District Council’s chief executive, will oversee the election, which if no candidate gets more than 50 per cent of the first choice votes, will see all except the top two candidates eliminated from a second preference vote count.