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Rural communities and neighbourhood teams discuss policing in South Somerset

S.Som com day
Residents and neighbourhood officers from across the communities of South Somerset were invited to share their views on local policing with Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens on Monday, July 23.

The impact of rural crime and the challenges of policing the South Somerset countryside were illustrated to the PCC during her latest community out and about day in the area, with her first meeting taking place with local officers from Somerton.

Sergeant Andrew Whelpton and Beat Manager Toni Lines met with the PCC at Yeovil Police Station, to discuss the importance of the recent National Rural Crime Survey results and how they are tackling rural and wildlife crime across their communities.

During the meeting the officers and PCC also talked about recruitment and the Constabulary’s implementation of new technology, including mobile phones and the roll out of Wi-Fi enabled vehicles to enable officer to work remotely while improving their visibility in the community.

Speaking after the meeting, PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “I am delighted the officers are embracing the new technology and utilising it within their teams. I know that policing in rural areas is a challenge, but one the Constabulary is committed to tackling.

“I have read the results of the National Rural Crime Survey and I understand many people feel let down.  I want our communities to know local policing teams are doing all they can to target prolific offenders of rural crime to keep us safe and feeling safe.”

The PCC then visited ‘The Footprints Project’ who have received £3,000 from the Commissioner’s Community Action Fund.  The project works with ex-offenders to mentor and reintroduce them back into society, encouraging them to find work and housing, after their release from prison.

Footprints Project, Project Manager Jo Wells said: “The best thing about being a mentor is helping offenders realise they can move on, break the cycle of crime and get out of the reoffending bubble.”

Following the success of the project in Dorset and Hampshire, The Footprints Project has expanded its work across South Somerset and will shortly be looking for volunteers to support the scheme – anyone with spare time and a passion for helping others are being encouraged to apply. 

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “Mentoring schemes are a fantastic way of showing offenders that there is life after prison and that they can move forward to start a fresh chapter in their lives. The Footprints Project is only just beginning its work across the local communities of Somerset and I look forward to seeing them progress over the coming months.”

The PCC ended the day hosting a public drop-in surgery at the Market Place in Ilminster, where she was joined by members of the area’s neighbourhood policing team to take residents local policing questions during the two hour session.

For more information about the Footprints Project please click here: www.footprintsproject.co.uk/

To find out more about the Commissioner’s Community Action Fund and how to apply, please follow this link: www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk/Partnerships/Commissioners-Community-Action-Fund.aspx

Posted on Friday 27th July 2018
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