HOUSEHOLDERS across North Yorkshire are being urged to question and scrutinise leaders of the police and fire and rescue service over the impact of cuts in police cells and equality and diversity.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan is holding a public accountability meeting on Tuesday May 28 which will be broadcast live. Also present to answer questions will be Chief Constable Lisa Winward and Chief Fire Officer Andrew Brodie. Residents get the chance to send in comments either before or during the session on twitter or through the commissioners website.

Mrs Mulligan said the subjects where chosen as inspections of fire and rescue services across England have found that most needed to do more to promote diversity of their workforce and a positive culture.

There has also been rising concern over the closure of custody suites across North Yorkshire, particularly at Northallerton where the main police station was moved to the new force headquarters and nine police cells were lost.

Chief Fire Officer Andrew Brodie who took over earlier this year warned in his first report that more needed to be done to make the workforce more diverse with starkly low numbers of firefighters who are women and a dearth of women in senior roles.

He said: "Colleagues recognise the desire to diversify but misunderstand why it’s necessary, often citing that ‘we just need the best person for the job’. The need to widen the spectrum of people who choose to apply is understood poorly and further education is needed on the benefits of positive action."

Chief Constable Lisa Winward and her team will report on the impact of the reduction in custody suites and new bail rules. The force now has cells in the county at Harrogate, York and Scarborough but there has been concern over the amount of travelling time that has involved for police officers after an arrest.

The public accountability meeting is held between 1.30pm and 4pm. Information is on the Commissioners website at

where questions can be left in advance, the live broadcast is at

To follow on Twitter @northyorkspfcc and look for #NYscrutiny .

Mrs Mulligan said: "These meetings give members of the public and staff the opportunity to understand the performance of both services and hear what they are doing to keep us safe and feeling safe.

"I encourage everyone to join in and watch, and if you have a question, please ask it."