CANDIDATES vying to become North Yorkshire’s next crime commissioner say they would launch a hard-hitting campaign to help tackle residents’ number one concern – speeding.

The say they would press for more 20mph limits and even consider drafting in firefighters to help prevent speeding motorists.

Read more: Meet the candidates vying to become North Yorkshire's next crime commissioner

Ahead of residents going to the polls on Thursday to decide who gets the £74,00-a-year role, the five candidates wanting to succeed Philip Allott have spoken of their determination to get to grips with road safety enforcement and education.

During his time in the role Mr Allott enlisted academics to help redesign efforts to tackle speeding in the county.

The aim was to enable the police to deal with safety on more than 6,000 miles of roads covering 800 villages, saying demand for enforcement was outstripping resources.

Most of the 72 county councillors agree speeding, and in particular through villages, is the most common issue that residents raise with them.

While fixed speed cameras have repeatedly been deemed an unsuitable solution for the largely rural county, the force has insisted its 12 mobile speed camera vans are used to deter speeding at accident sites.

The county’s first commissioner Julia Mulligan frequently defended the use of the vans and denied they were being used as a revenue generator, despite many residents, councillors and even former police traffic officers believing the contrary due to where they were placed.

Independent candidate Keith Tordoff said enforcement was not the only answer and that he would development new ways of dealing with road safety, involving other agencies such as the council and possibly the fire service.

He added he was a supporter of the 20’s Plenty scheme, but was only in favour of reducing speed limits on roads near schools, high streets and where residents overwhelmingly want to.

Labour candidate Emma Scott-Spivey said she was backing 20’s Plenty as “road safety is a huge issue across North Yorkshire – not just in built up areas but on our country lanes and major highways”.

She said: “Some argue that spending money on reducing speeds and improving road safety should not be an expense of fighting ‘real crime’.

"I don’t agree at all. We must do everything we can to reduce speeds, reduce accidents and reduce fatalities."

Liberal Democrat James Barker highlighted less traffic during lockdowns led to some shocking levels of speeding.

He said: “If elected I will oversee a review of the police’s approach to enforcing speed limits, including how mobile speed cameras are deployed and revisiting the issue of fixed speed cameras."

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Zoe Metcalfe, who is hoping to become the third Conservative in succession to be elected, said education and more publicity were needed.

She said: “I would like to see an emphasis placed on showing drivers the impacts of their speeding from being an anti-social behaviour, a serious and dangerous activity and how their own lives can be impacted if caught breaking the law.”

Women’s Equality Party candidate Hannah Barham-Brown, said as a wheelchair user, speeding was a major concern for her. She added: “Although reducing speed limits is outside of my remit as Commissioner I will work with local councils and residents to advocate for road safety and to ensure that residents’ concerns are being heard.”

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