YORK councillor Jo Coles looks set to become York and North Yorkshire’s new Deputy Mayor for Police, Fire and Crime – essentially replacing former crime commissioner Zoe Metcalfe.

She has been selected as ‘preferred appointee’ for the post by Mayor David Skaith, and will go before a meeting of the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel for a confirmation hearing on June 12.

Cllr Coles was the Labour executive member for wellbeing and adult social care on City of York Council who was leading negotiations with Explore York libraries to cut £300,000 from the library service’s budget in each of the next two years.

The city council’s deputy leader Cllr Pete Kilbane has now taken on responsibility for libraries in a mini council reshuffle.

If confirmed in her new post, Cllr Coles will have delegated authority from Mayor David Skaith to carry out the functions of the former police, fire and crime commissioner.

These include the power to appoint and remove the chief constable, to set the police budget, and to set local policing priorities.

Mr Skaith said: “The role of Deputy Mayor for Police, Fire and Crime is crucial, and I have therefore carefully considered who should be appointed to this role.

“In my plan for York and North Yorkshire I promised to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour, in particular focussing on the root causes.

“In a few days I will officially propose Jo Coles to the Police, Fire and Crime Panel as my preferred appointee to the role of Deputy Mayor for Policing, Fire and Crime.

“I want to invest in our services, to keep people being safe and feeling safe in our urban, rural and coastal areas alike. I believe Jo would be a brilliant member of our team in helping us to achieve this.

“Jo’s experience at City of York Council shows her to be a dedicated public servant committed to helping people across all communities.”


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Malton-born Cllr Coles grew up in York before starting a political career which has included working as Chief of Staff to Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper and as an adviser to then MP Ed Balls.

She also worked for nearly four years as head of communications and campaigns for Crest Advisory, a consultancy dedicated to crime and justice. This role involved close working with Mayors and police, fire and crime commissioners from around the country.

Cllr Coles will remain as councillor for Westfield ward in York – but her departure from the city council’s ruling Executive has prompted a mini-reshuffle.

Cllr Lucy Steels-Walshaw steps up as executive member for health, wellbeing and adult social care.

Cllr Pete Kilbane remains as the authority’s deputy leader, and also takes on responsibility for libraries, culture and the arts and economic development and tourism.

But his previous responsibilities for transport have passed to Cllr Kate Ravilious.

The important role of executive member for finance becomes a job share between Cllr Katie Lomas and Cllr Anna Baxter.

Councillor Jenny Kent takes on sole responsibility as executive member for Environment and Climate Emergency – previously it was a job share with Cllr Ravilious.

Announcing the changes, council leader Claire Douglas said: “I’m pleased to be able to confirm my Executive for the next 12 months and look forward to building on the real achievements of the past year.

“I’m confident with the team we have we’ll continue to make great strides. The financial picture remains extremely tough and we’re showing, despite this, we can still deliver positive results for the people of York.”