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New mayor wants former Armley councillor Alison Lowe as police and crime chief

Words: Richard Beecham, local democracy reporter

The Mayor of West Yorkshire has announced former Armley councillor Alison Lowe as her preferred candidate for the role of deputy mayor for policing and crime.

Ms Lowe, who is currently chief executive at health and wellbeing charity Touchstone, previously represented Armley on Leeds City Council for nearly 30 years and served as chairwoman of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel.

She made history on her election in 1990, being the first-ever black woman councillor in Leeds. Following her retirement as a councillor in 2019, she most recently chaired a review into statues in the city, following Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020.

As Tracy Brabin’s office now includes the role of Police and Crime Commissioner, it means Mark Burns-Williamson, who served two terms as West Yorkshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner, will advise Ms Brabin on policing and crime matters until Ms Lowe takes up her role. Ms Brabin said:

“Alison brings a wealth of experience of policing and crime issues to the role and is a passionate champion of inclusion and mental health which we both want to be at the core of policing in West Yorkshire.

“I am looking forward to working with her to deliver my commitments to recruit more police officers and staff and to put keeping women and girls safe at the heart of my policing plan.

“Mark’s knowledge and insight will be invaluable to me as we make this transition and I am very pleased he will be supporting me on policing and crime matters in the coming weeks.”

Ms Lowe said:

“I am very proud to be put forward as the first deputy mayor for policing and crime in West Yorkshire and share the mayor’s determination that the voices of all our communities are heard.

“Making sure our communities are safe and inclusive is key to ensuring our region is one that delivers better lives for all and I am excited about getting to work on this important agenda.”

Ms Lowe will be recommended to the Police and Crime Panel which will consider her candidacy at a meeting on June 18, and is expected to take up the role in August.


  1. Gettin Burns Williamson to advise on Policing is like asking the Captain of the Titanic to take you out sailing!!

  2. Maybe Alison Lowe has changed her attitudes and behavior, but from what I remember about my communications with her, I would hardly see her as an appropriate person for police and crime chief. I recall her basically invalidating my concerns about drug crime in Armley by saying something like, “Yeah, there’s drugs in Armley.” Her attitude and demeanor seemed to say she didn’t think it was an important issue. Then, she told me that I had just gotten “unlucky” on the day I experienced a hate crime because her sister lives in Armley and has never had any problems. Her appointment may be indicative of other agendas in the police force.


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