Yet, as Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer intensify the respective Tory and Labour campaigns, it’s important that local issues are not neglected.
But the May 6 elections will also give voters a chance to elect the next police and crime commissioners in North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Humberside while the role in West Yorkshire comes under the remit of a new metro mayor.
And, given the powers that these commissioners do exercise, and the public’s growing concerns about a wide range of law and order issues, it is also important that they’re not treated as an after-thought.
Quite the opposite. Candidates should be going out of the way to engage proactively with residents, and crime victims, rather than simply regurgitating national slogans.
Each of Yorkshire’s constabularies have their own challenges and these need to come to the fore, and be discussed, in the coming weeks – they will need strong leadership and scrutiny of candidates will help this.
Yet, while the public remain largely supportive of the police, there is a growing tendency for some forces, North Yorkshire being a prime example, to blame spending pressures for not providing details of their response to specific crimes.
Its new PCC will need to rethink this in conjunction with Chief Constable Lisa Winward. Total transparency is key to maintaining trust, minimising unnecessary suspicion about the motives of police and encouraging the public to come forward.
Policing is invariably at its best when it is a partnership with the public, hence why the PCC elections are significant and deserve to be taken far more seriously than at present.
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