About Zoë Metcalfe
Having grown up in North Yorkshire, Zoë Metcalfe is determined to be a commissioner for everyone; accessible to all, standing up for our emergency services, but challenging them when needed to be the best they can at protecting us and keeping us safe and feeling safe.
Born in Ripon, Zoë has lived in and around the city for most of her life and was educated in Harrogate. Before entering politics, she has had a background in the public and private sector working in education, a project manager and co runs her family property company, as well as being a single-parent raising two children – Harry and Holly.
Her daughter Holly has complex needs, learning disabilities and mental health problems which means she needs to live in specialist support accommodation away from the family home. Zoë has battled to get the right provision for her daughter’s needs and therefore understands the struggle many families face when trying to get a diagnosis and ongoing support, which at times has been frustrating and even impossible. This experience of being an advocate for her daughter was the driving force for entering politics – to enable her to help other parents and carers and be a voice for others. Since 2019 and alongside her political career, Zoë has been the founding chair of a foundation which was set up to provide grant funding for parents and carers, for their logistical costs when visiting their children in in-patient mental health units.
Zoë’s political career started in 2014 when she first joined the Conservative party. In 2015 she became a Harrogate Borough Councillor for Minster Ward in Ripon and stood for a Doncaster Central Parliamentary seat, doing the same again in 2017 being elected as a North Yorkshire County Councillor for Knaresborough and standing for Leeds West Parliamentary election. In 2018 she became a Councillor for the Claro Ward on Harrogate Borough Council, and all whilst she was a member of the Council of Governors for Harrogate District NHS Foundation Trust 2016-2019. Zoë has also been Deputy Mayor of Harrogate Borough Council from 2019-2021.
From these roles, Zoë has extensive experience in scrutiny; holding local decision makers to account and helping to improve local services by reviewing and challenging decisions. She has chaired the Harrogate Borough Council Human Resources Committee, sat on the North Yorkshire County Council Scrutiny of Health Committee and the Scrutiny of Children and Young People Committee, sat on Planning Committees for both councils and was Deputy Mayor in Harrogate from 2019-2021. She has immense expertise and understanding to bring to the Commissioner role.
Zoë was previously involved in the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner elections back in 2019, however she withdrew herself due to the sudden death of her second husband Howard to suicide. This heart-breaking experience had a significant impact on Zoë, her children and family, and she realised even more the important role our police and support groups play in making unbearable situations more bearable. Zoë is committed to advocating for mental health awareness as someone with lived experience and investing in support for victims and services to support those living through grief.
Being elected as the new Commissioner after a challenging time, when the focus has been on the role for all the wrong reasons, Commissioner Zoë says she is determined to restore trust and share just how important the work of the Commissioner and their team is. She promises to meet with as many people as possible across North Yorkshire and York to hear their thoughts and priorities, and explain why what she does, backed up by the team of the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, can make a big difference to their lives.
Her priorities include protecting women and girls from violence; reducing the number of crimes that have a huge impact on people’s lives such as anti-social behaviour, drugs, burglary, and theft; preventing fire incidents; and reducing vulnerability within communities to prevent harm. Ultimately, Commissioner Zoë wants to ensure that North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and North Yorkshire Police invest their resources to make everyone in North Yorkshire and York safe and keep them feeling safe in their homes and out in their communities through prevention and appropriate visible protection and response.
North Yorkshire through and through, she is also determined to stand up for the county at Westminster when decisions are taken which impact on our lives. She believes there is not enough attention paid to rural communities and the funding allocated for our emergency services does not adequately reflect the challenges we face.
Committed to making a difference, Commissioner Zoë hopes people will judge her on what she achieves and is determined to work for those who voted for her, those who voted for someone else and those who did not vote at all. She hopes to be able to speak to you soon.