Posted: Friday 14th February 2014
With the rain and wind continuing to lash down the thoughts of residents in Somerset are never far from my mind. Many people are now facing a long and agonising wait to find out when they can return to their homes. Living day-to-day with only the items they left with, and without the comforts and familiarity of home. The tales of amazing community spirit and support is heartening. Once again we are reminded of the well-wishers and support of others, following the horrendous attack of 76 year-old Jean Taylor in Totterdown. Like many readers I was saddened and speechless about such an evil incident on the doorstep of Jean's home. I was also pleased to see the terrific response from Post readers and the kind thoughts and flowers for Jean, which is kindly being passed onto her. An attack like Jean's, is one of your own worst fears for your own mother, father, grandparents or loved one, and I hope that anyone with any information contacts Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
This week the police, schools and charities have been raising awareness staying safe online. Tuesday's Safer Internet day saw lots of initiatives with police officers going into schools to talk to pupils, teachers and parents about online security, safe behaviours, bullying and sexting. The world-wide-web brings a wealth of opportunities for us and some dangers for our children and adults as well.
The danger of the internet is a threat that the police are recognising and on Wednesday I attended the first regional cyber crime conference in Bournemouth. The south west regional organised crime unit (Zephyr) has been working with Bournemouth University to develop the south west's capability to manage and investigate cyber crime. It is estimated that cyber crime costs the UK around £27 billion per year, with a significant impact on businesses, as well as people such as identity theft, online fraud and extortion. The aim of the event is to develop a strategy for combatting cyber-crime across the south west to build awareness and target it more effectively.
The Chief Constable and I met with our local MPs from across Avon and Somerset. A popular question by many of our MPs was the closure of police stations. Only last week I attended a public meeting in Easton, with Bristol's new commander Chief Superintendent Jon Reilly, about the future of Trinity police station. The Chief Constable and I are very clear that even if a police station closes it does not mean that the police will not have a presence in the local area.
A number of police stations not just ones in the city centre will soon be oversized, particularly as custody units move to new centralised locations. This means our estate footprint is too big. However we are working hard with partners such as local councils and businesses to make sure that the police retain a local base in any area we think we may lose or down size a police station. Similar to announcements this week that Barclays will move some branches into Asda stores. The police too will be looking at ways they can stay local but also adapt to be where communities are and to be more convenient for you to access. I recognise that residents get very anxious about police station closures and I will make sure that local people are listened to and that any future proposals are shared.