Posted: Friday 7th August 2015
With shocking news that government departments including the police should plan for cuts of 40 per cent, there now needs to be a real debate about what the police prioritise in the future. After listening to local people, I campaigned on four clear priorities for the police and one of those was burglary. Being burgled means more than just the inconvenience of an insurance claim. It is extremely disruptive and upsetting for the victim. Having a stranger break into your house is frightening, and leaves many people feeling deeply afraid of being alone at home.
The police have a vital role to play not only in recovering what has been lost but in reassuring the victim. As we look to find more than £23m by 2019, even before the Chancellor's latest announcement, I accept that the police have to focus on threat, harm and risk, however people have the right to feel safe in their home.
I would like to thank Acting Chief Constable John Long for serving his community with a distinguished policing career of 31 years. John joined Avon and Somerset 12 years ago and during that time he has been responsible for policing Bristol, held a national portfolio and been awarded the Queen's Police Medal. His work with partners monitoring prolific offenders has made a real difference to people's lives. We've been lucky to have an officer of his calibre and he will be very sorely missed but I wish him a very happy retirement.
I have read the letter from the three respected former Chief Constables of Avon and Somerset and I take their concerns regarding Nick Gargan very seriously, as I do with everyone who has contacted me to date. There is a process to follow. I have now received the independent misconduct panel's report which means I can now hold a sanction hearing with the Chief Constable. It has been agreed with all parties that Wednesday, August 19, is the soonest most practicable date the sanction hearing can take place.
The report is 90 pages long and I am considering the panel's views and recommendations thoroughly. It could be potentially highly prejudicial to the outcome, if I comment further before the misconduct process is finalised. When it is complete I will share with residents the panel's report, the costs of the case and my response.
I am delighted we can once again give residents an action-packed open day at police headquarters in Portishead in September. I think it's really important for people to see behind the scenes of HQ, find out more about policing and meet volunteers, staff and officers who all help to keep our communities safe. It's a privilege to be showcasing the talent of our young people across Avon and Somerset too.