Zoe Metcalfe: the Woman Behind the Role
by Tallulah Treadaway
Dressed to the nines in wellies and with a dog lead to match, this is how you're likely to find Zoe Metcalfe on the weekends. You’d never guess that she spends her week as the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
Zoe believes, as many people should, that “we have everything in North Yorkshire – we have the moors, the dales, we have the sea and the coast… we’re very lucky!” It is very likely that you’ll catch her taking in the pleasures of northern nature. Spending her weekends walking her dog is one of her favourite pastimes; she fondly remembers childhood walks through Fountain’s Abbey.
Zoe Metcalfe’s journey into the world of politics is not your typical story. She began her career in education, developing skills and an understanding of the issues which are now relevant to her current role. Zoe then spent time as the Harrogate Borough councillor providing an empathetic ear and supportive voice to the people of the area. Zoe’s good nature doesn’t stop there, she also spent three years as a volunteer governor at Harrogate Hospital. She really has done it all! Her drive and determination are admirable and it is also an incredible achievement that she is currently the only female Police Fire and Crime Commissioner.
Zoe is keen to prioritise the safety of women and girls.
Zoe has certainly not had an easy ride in life. “It’s really important for your life experiences to feed into this role, and for me – I’ve been a single mum, I’m a widow – I’ve had some really tough times, and I think those are great experiences for me to bring to making decisions and talking to people and understanding their experiences.” Her life, with all its ups and downs, she finds, really helps the way she approaches her role.
One of the biggest reasons she started working towards becoming Commissioner was her devotion and determination as a mother to her two children. Raising a child with learning disabilities meant that Zoe consistently had to stand up for her daughter’s needs. Zoe explains there “was always a fight with professionals and trying to get the help she needed in schools.” She was driven to ensure that her daughter could receive the help that she needed and was determined that other parents would not have to experience similar struggles with their children.
She stresses how important it is to her that people are able to address their issues directly
Zoe is keen to prioritise the safety of women and girls. She has worked tirelessly to introduce new strategies and ideas to create a safer local community hopefully. One of her biggest initiatives has been concentring on Victim Support in North Yorkshire. Zoe’s aim is to focus on prevention; “I really want to get it out there so we can reach the people that we need to, for them to understand that they can self-refer to a lot of the victim commissioning schemes that we have, so they don’t have to go through the police.” Zoe makes it her personal mission to help others with her role; for her, the role is all about the people she can help.
She is very keen to listen to the public; she stresses how important it is to her that people are able to address their issues directly and can have their voices heard. Describing her role, Zoe says how she sees herself as “the voice of the public. Part of my role is making sure I go out to communities – which I do a lot of and love doing – to meet them and hear what does and doesn’t work for them.”
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