A former City of York councillor, who set up an erotic poetry reading channel on YouTube during lockdown, has thrown her hat in the ring to become the next Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire.
Anna Semlyen, 51, a yoga teacher and self-confessed "attention seeker", who once represented Labour in the Dringhouses and Woodthorpe ward, set up Anna’s Authentic Arts on the popular online platform last year because she was feeling lonely and depressed.
Now she wants to stand for one of the top policing jobs, following Philip Allott’s departure from the role, with her main focus on women's safety, road safety and in order to prevent a “medical apartheid”.
The position was vacated by Allott earlier this month over comments he made with regards to the murder of Sarah Everard, urging women to become more “streetwise”, and Semlyen has now put her name forward for the £74,440 a year job.
She said: “If you look at women’s safety overall – it’s not just sexual safety, but road safety.
“The number of women who are experiencing problems to do with the patriarchy and the entitlement of men, not just the male's gaze, but comments that are unwanted all the way up to rape and abuse and murder, as happened to Sarah Everard, is more concerning than ever.
“Phillip Allot made comments about arrest procedures that were totally inappropriate. He was telling women to understand their arrest rights, and for that, he had to resign. This is why women’s issues are at the forefront of this election."
Semlyen, who used to read her poetry on her YouTube channel in “sexy police gear”, said her manifesto would focus on women's safety from sexual predators and implementing a speed limit of 20mph on residential streets and in town and village centres.
And she believes she could use her channel to highlight the fact that policing "isn't working".
She added: “I worked very hard on sexual feminism on my channel because it’s saying the voice of what women are really thinking, which men don’t often hear.
“They often watch porn where the woman’s voice is being muted, and she’s not an intelligent, interesting woman with an opinion.”
Her plans to stand in the election, which takes place on November 25, have been hampered by the requirement of a £5,000 bond which candidates lose if they do not get more than 5% of the vote.
She added: “I looked into it further and found there was a £5,000 entry fee, a bond, and you only get this money back if you poll at least 5% of the first preferences, which obviously requires a lot more money to do your campaigning.
“I was appalled at the wealth barrier that exists to even stand as a candidate."
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