Posted: Friday 22nd November 2013
I am delighted to say that I have reached the one year in office milestone and what a year it has been! Just some of the things that have been achieved throughout the year - over 5000 people consulted with, 70 meetings with the Chief Constable and over £2m grants issued across Avon and Somerset to name but a few. Not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate my role as the voice of residents and no matter how busy, or how challenging the task, it is an honour to be Avon and Somerset’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.
To mark the anniversary, and to celebrate Children’s Commissioner Takeover Day which shares the same date, I will be spending the day with young people invited to Police Headquarters to gain an insight into my role as PCC. The day will include them sitting in on my meeting with the Chief Constable and working alongside my team helping to deliver my Police and Crime Plan priorities. In the evening I have been invited by the University of the West of England to give a lecture on my reflections and future one year into the role as Commissioner. If you would like to attend please visit the UWE website for details.
Following my last column, ‘putting the victim back in control is crucial’ the police are in the process of recruiting a Senior Officer whose role will be to bring together all the key agencies in providing services to victims, ensuring all victims are supported during their recovery. Putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice system has always been one of my key priorities heavily reflected in my Police and Crime Plans and I am pleased with this collaborative approach working towards providing a better service for victims and giving them a louder voice. To find out more or how to apply for the role please visit the Avon and Somerset Constabulary website.
Another way of putting the victim back in control and something that is being marked by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) this week is restorative justice. The week has seen the MOJ raise awareness and promote the process, encouraging people to use it where is a suitable resolution to a crime. I am hugely in favour of restorative justice as it brings together the victim and the offender with the aim of putting the victim back in control and confronting the offender with the consequences of their actions in the hope this will impact on their future behaviour. It is important that the process is victim-led but if you are or have been a victim of crime restorative justice, depending on your situation, it could be an important step forward in your recovery journey.
Finally, this week also marks National Road Safety Week, something which residents have raised various concerns with me throughout my time in office. From cycling on pavements, obstructions in bus lanes to drivers using their mobile phones whilst driving it is clear to me that residents feel strongly about all aspects of road safety. In response to this the Chief Constable, the Bristol Mayor and I have decided to come together to host a Road Safety Summit where various community representatives can come together and work towards a future where there is greater tolerance in making our roads and pavements safer for all.