March 2024: News from A&SPCC Mark Shelford

I AM deeply saddened by the recent shocking and senseless deaths of two boys, aged only 15 and 16, at the end of January in South Bristol.

The grief being felt by the families of those boys and the impact it will have on their loved ones, as well as the wider community, is unimaginable.

Preventing knife crime and stopping young people from coming to harm must be at the forefront of all our minds.

This is an area of focus for our Violence Reduction Partnership, which provides education, mentoring, and employs a community-based approach to prevent these tragic crimes.

Additionally, to encourage people to safely discard any knives and weapons they are carrying, Avon & Somerset Police have installed weapon surrender bins across the area.

Lifesaving bleed control kits designed to provide emergency help for someone who suffers a traumatic injury are also being installed alongside defibrillators.

I also want to focus on the process of police misconduct hearings, as this is something many people are rightly asking about this month. 

I am proud to have lobbied for significant changes aimed at increasing the chief constable’s power to act on police officers who have been found guilty of misconduct.

One of the outcomes of this, which comes into effect from May, is that chief constables will be able to terminate the employment of officers found guilty of gross misconduct.

This move marks a pivotal step towards upholding the highest standards of integrity and professionalism within law enforcement.

One of the most notable adjustments is the composition of the panels responsible for adjudicating cases of misconduct.

Formerly, only one independent panel member (IPM) was mandated to sit alongside a chief constable in a hearing.

The revamped structure now necessitates the inclusion of two IPMs, bolstering the impartiality of the decision-making process.

Consequently, my office is actively recruiting new IPMs to partake in this crucial aspect of police oversight.

The imperative for these reforms is underscored by the instances of police misconduct showcased in the Channel 4 documentary ‘To Catch A Copper’, which shines a spotlight on the need to addressing such issues decisively and transparently.

If this is an issue you are passionate about, I urge you to put yourself forward. These roles offer an invaluable opportunity to contribute to the integrity of our law enforcement system. 

I am also pleased to lend my support to the government’s forthcoming ‘Stop! Think Fraud’ campaign.

As the National Association of Police and Crime Commissioners economic and cybercrime lead, I recognise the critical importance of equipping individuals with the knowledge and tools to safeguard themselves against fraudulent activities.

By fostering awareness and vigilance, we can collectively mitigate the impact of fraud and protect our communities from financial harm.