Members of a watchdog which played a key role in the downfall of two police and crime commissioners have paid tribute to the final person to hold the post.
North Yorkshire and York’s police, fire and crime panel heralded Zoe Metcalfe for introducing changes to the police and fire services since she was elected in November 2021, ahead of a mayor for the region taking on governance of the services after an election on May 2.
The ballot was triggered after the previous commissioner, Conservative Philip Allott, resigned following a vote of no confidence from the panel over comments he made about the murder of Sarah Everard.
It came just months after the county’s first commissioner, Tory Julia Mulligan did not contest the election after facing criticism from the panel over her behaviour towards staff.
A meeting of the panel at County Hall in Northallerton heard Mrs Metcalfe tell the panel over the past two years she had overseen “significant improvements and transformational change” in the police and fire services.
She said her achievements had included investing £2m in a sexual assault referral centre and developing a strategy against violence towards women and girls.
City of York councillor Danny Myers said Mrs Metcalfe had been particularly successful in tackling violence towards women, while fellow panel member and former judge Martin Walker described her work in the area as “absolutely amazing”.
Members from several political groups added the commissioner had proved to be approachable and open to ideas, while Independent councillor Lindsay Burr thanked Mrs Metcalfe for her work to crack down on County Lines drug dealing,
Romanby councillor Peter Wilkinson congratulated the commissioner for her leadership, cooperative working style and enthusiasm.
He said: “You have always got a smile on your face and I believe you have delivered a real difference to police and fire for our community.”