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Public forum gives voice to local community


A broad range of topics including local policing levels, how to raise awareness of modern slavery and tackling misconceptions about crime levels were discussed at the latest public forum.

The forum was held at the Shire Way Community Centre in Yate on Wednesday evening (December 3rd, 2014). It was a chance for local people to find out more about policing in the area and ask their questions to the Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Caroline Peters, and Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens.

The forum was opened by local councillor Heather Goddard and an opening address given by Sue Mountstevens before gave Caroline gave her presentation on local policing – you can read it here. Caroline discussed Avon and Somerset Police’s service promise, changes it has undergone as it adapts to smaller budget, her commitment to neighbourhood policing and the impact of new domestic violence protection orders.

During the question-and-answer session that followed, a range of questions were discussed including how the police make sure crime is recorded properly, how many police officers are on duty in a typical shift – and when the Frampton Cotterell team will return to full strength, how to make domestic abuse as socially unacceptable as drink-driving and how to ensure people have accurate perceptions about crime levels and police responses in neighbourhoods.

Summaries of questions were live-tweeted and a video and notes from the meeting will be published here very soon.

The public forums are held jointly with Avon and Somerset Police every two months in order to listen to community concerns and answer their questions. The next one is tentatively scheduled to be held in Bath and North-East Somerset in February.

Speaking after the forum, Sue said: “It’s not my police service or the acting Chief Constable’s but it belongs to our community and they should have the ability to ask questions to me and senior officers. This is what these forums are all about; being open about what the police do and listening to local concerns.

“This was a very productive meeting with a good mix of questions covering local and broader issues. I’d like to thank everyone for coming along, and would encourage everyone to come along next time one is held in your area.”

The forum followed an out and about day, when Sue spent time visiting projects and groups in Bristol - including some which had been given money from the Commssioner's Community Action Fund (CCAF). The projects included 

  • Ideal - a community action group focused on creating and delivering projects that build confidence, awareness and skills, resulting in fresh opportunities for young people and adults.
  • The Green House, formerly known as the Avon Sexual Abuse Centre (ASAC), is a registered charity providing free specialist therapy and counselling to both women and men who have been the victims of sexual violence. The charity received £5,000 CCAF funding.
  • Crisis Centre Ministries, a project which dedicated to helping vulnerable people who suffer from life disrupting problems; such as homelessness, addiction, mental health issues, relationship breakdown and extreme poverty. The project received £3,000 CCAF funding.
  • Bristol Drugs Project, which seeks to reduce alcohol and drug-related harm, by emphasising the significance of changing behaviour.
  • Barton Hill Settlement, a community resource centre for Barton Hill and the surrounding areas.
  • Black South West Network, an organisation championing social justice, human rights, democratic processes and equality. They received £3,000 CCAF funding.

 The day concluded with a public drop-in session at Tesco Extra in Eastville so people could meet Sue and raise any local issues important to them.

Posted on Friday 5th December 2014
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