Posted: Friday 2nd September 2016
Summer finally came good over the last couple of weeks. The long awaited sunshine coincided with an increase in my mailbag over a number of issues that you tell me are a concern. The first was the travellers on the Downs, who have now been evicted by the council and have left peacefully. The other matter is the delays in the 101 service. We know that the police receive more calls during the summer months, and this has inevitably caused pressure on the service once more. I’m clear that the service local people are receiving is not good enough. I have raised this issue with the Chief Constable and I will continue to monitor the situation until I see an action plan from the Constabulary which is working and addressing your concerns.
Last week I visited the Police Now Academy to find out more about the graduate leadership programme which is putting exceptional graduates on the frontline of policing. I visited the summer programme just as the new recruits were finishing their last week of training and it was informative to spend time with the students, their trainers and their mentors and to talk to them about their experience. I’m delighted that Avon and Somerset will be joining Police Now next year. It really is an excellent way to inspire leaders from a diverse range of backgrounds.
I was pleased to read that an innovative scheme in Bristol which sends kerb-crawlers on an educational programme is helping to reduce offending and raise money for local communities. The ‘Change Course’ educates offenders about the wider impact of their behaviour. It has a re-offend rate of just seven per cent. The scheme started in April 2008 and passed the milestone of its 100th course in January this year, with 831 men having attended the course since it started. Men have to pay to attend the programme and some of this money goes back into the communities affected. So far a staggering £46,000 has been raised with all decisions about what the money is spent on made by local people so far that’s included children’s play equipment, school trips, benches and hanging baskets
It’s been incredible to watch the success of Team GB at the Olympics in Rio over the past few weeks. Even if you are not a massive sports fan it’s hard not to be impressed by the determination, focus and motivation that underpin every one of the 67 medals achieved by Team GB. Likewise I’ve been admiring more local achievements with the latest PCC’s Pride Awards held at police headquarters last week. There were some truly remarkable tales from a man that helped a woman who had just been raped when others might have walked away, to the astonishing efforts of hours of voluntary work and fundraising. The awards truly highlight those ‘silent stars’ within our community who are selflessly helping others with no recognition. I had the wonderful pleasure of personally meeting all the local people, officers and staff who all display incredible, selfless contributions to individuals, groups and the community making a difference.