I WANT to start by acknowledging the terrible crisis and conflict situation in the Middle East.
I strongly condemn any acts of terrorism.
I recognise that there will be communities in Avon and Somerset who feel concerned and have been impacted by these events.
I want to reassure you that the Chief Constable is ensuring that Avon & Somerset Police is actively engaging with all communities affected, and other agencies, to monitor the situation.
Every month I hold a performance and accountability board meeting, to hold the Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset Police to account in delivering policing that is efficient, effective and legitimate, by scrutinising and asking questions about police performance and priorities.
October’s topics were hate crime, anti-social behaviour and PEEL disclosure schemes.
Hate crime and ASB is unacceptable any time of year, but National Hate Crime Week, which took place between October 14 and 21, provided an opportunity to reinforce that Avon and Somerset is no place for hate.
Reducing and preventing these crimes, which is priority one of four in my Police and Crime Plan, requires us to all work together, encourage reporting and ensure any victims receive support.
Together we can reduce hate crime.
Chief Constable Sarah Crew assured me that Avon and Somerset Police will be doing ongoing engagement with schools, communities and retailers to encourage and support the reporting of hate crime.
If you are a victim or see hate crime or ASB take place, I would urge you to report it online or via 101.
I also questioned the Chief Constable about the latest PEEL report. PEEL stands for Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy, and is the primary framework in which police forces are inspected.
The most recent report found that an area identified for improvement is the need to reduce the backlog of applications waiting to be processed relating to domestic violence disclosure schemes.
The two schemes are fantastic police policies, which enable you to find out about an individual’s domestic abuse history (if they have one) or if someone has a record for child sex offences.
If you missed the meeting and want to see what happened, you can watch the recording via the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Facebook page.
I want to take the opportunity to talk specifically about road safety, which is a key area of focus.
If you are a road user, pedestrian or cyclist or e-scooter rider, I urge you to be careful when using pathways and pavements. It is important to remember that pavements are solely for the use of pedestrians.
If you do need to use the pavement to park, please do so with care, especially as the evenings become darker. This ensures accessibility and safety for all road users and pedestrians in Avon and Somerset.