Posted: Friday 16th May 2014
I am sure many of you have seen the headlines this week regarding Avon and Somerset and may well be concerned. I will try to be as open as possible. The allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Nick Gargan are now being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. It is important that we let the independent investigation run its course. In the meantime I would like to reassure you that you will see no changes to day-to-day policing. Local officers and staff will continue to be focused on driving down crime and maintaining Avon and Somerset as a safe city to live, work and visit.
To that extent, last week I launched my Police and Crime Plans for 2014-17. I have also produced local plans including ones for Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, Sedgemoor, Mendip, Taunton Deane, South Somerset and West Somerset. These local Plans are tailored to your policing needs. They act as a focus for Avon and Somerset Constabulary outlining my priorities, the areas of policing you have told me that matter to you, as well as detailing local policing initiatives in your area.
The Plan also reports on police performance in each of the local areas, which at this early stage is showing some promising results. I am pleased to report that confidence in the police has risen to 76%. There are 1,766 fewer burglaries in Avon and Somerset. Satisfaction amongst victims of anti-social behaviour is at 82% and reported incidents of domestic and sexual abuse have risen by 6%, indicating that people are becoming more confident to report to the police.
The refreshed Plans also have a new emphasis on road safety and the unveiling of three new motorbikes fitted with speed enforcement cameras. Road safety and the variety of issues this encompasses is the most common topic that residents and local people contact me about. I am very aware of how people feel about road safety and I continue to work with the Constabulary on various initiatives to make road users more aware and respectful to one another when using the roads.
This week we acknowledge Mental Health Awareness Week (12-16 May) and I am pleased to report that work is underway towards developing the local Mental Health action plan, following the conference I held with partners last week. I was also stunned to hear from the Constabulary that they receive approximately 16,000 mental health related calls a year – averaging 47 calls a day. As alarming as this initially sounds, it highlights to me the importance of partners coming together to address mental health and I am eager to see the action plan take shape.
It is important to me that residents know that I am listening to what they are telling me. I am always looking for new ways to be as open and transparent. That is why on 29 May I will be in the spotlight for a live web chat. The web chat is being hosted by the Bristol Post and they are asking for you to submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org Please send in your questions and join me online on May 29.