Q. Surely you would be better serving the people as a doctor, especially given the challenges faced as a result of the pandemic?
A. Actually, as a doctor, my services to the emergency department were contracted to the NHS by an intermediate (not my choice). When the patients stopped coming in during lockdown, all the doctors in my department were laid off without pay or furlough (zero-hours contracts).
This is the greatest opportunity in my life to help the people in my community. In fact, it’s an opportunity to reach more people than in the last 30 years put together so I believe that it’s the greatest way I can serve my community.
Q. The position of PCC is an unnecessary waste of public money?
A. I’m afraid the Tories don’t agree, so getting rid of the post is not an option for discussion. In fact, the government’s intention is to expand the role and also introduce the role of Deputy PCC by the end of the year. The Deputy will be appointed in line with the party-political bias of the incumbent PCC.
It would appear that if we don’t select an independent on this occasion, on May 6th, it will be almost impossible for an independent to ever be appointed to the role.
Q. The position of PCC looks to be just a cushy overpaid job?
A. That’s because politicians don’t turn up for work. (. I don’t think I’ve ever missed a day’s work in my life.)
I would see the role as more than a full-time commitment, dedicating myself wholeheartedly to the privilege of serving the community of the North East.
The influence and responsibility is something that I take very seriously and I certainly didn’t take the decision to stand for office lightly. It’s something that I will only ever do this once.
Q. Shouldn’t senior police posts should go to people with a high level of policing experience. What would be your thoughts if someone with no experience took over running your GP practice or Hospital?
In other regions, a number long-serving officers have come forward as candidates and been successful. However, for some reason that hasn’t been the case in the Northumbria area.
So, whilst I don’t have any direct policing background, 6 years as a police doctor gives me 6 years more direct experience of working with the police than any other candidate.
I also worked for a number of years in the merchant navy which has a very similar hierarchical structure. During that time I was effectively running medical services for a “small city” of up to 5000 people, 24/7. We dealt with every incident you can imagine including the biggest maritime epidemic in shipping history.
Q. Why do you believe it’s so important for the role of PCC to be independent?
A. I can only imagine that trying to serve the people of your community but always having to put them second as you worry about pleasing your political party first must be exhausting.
Q. What is the Commissioner’s Cross-Cultural fund?
A. That’s too big a question for this blog, so you can read the full answer in a separate post The Commissioner’s Cross-Cultural Fund – Dr Julian Kilburn for PCC
Q. Are you really old enough to have been a doctor for 30 years?
A. Yes, I’m 52 years old (but thanks to the person who asked if I’ve been drinking from the font of youth)