Posted: Friday 7th October 2016
It feels as if summer’s over with the darker evenings drawing in and a distinct chill as we’ve entered October. With the winter months fast approaching the police and my office are encouraging residents to say “hello,” particularly to our older residents. Last Saturday was the United Nations International Day of Older Persons; the international day is a platform for people across the world to take a stand against ageism. We are asking our communities to recognise the importance of older people and how a simple “hello” could make a big difference and keep an eye on our communities. It’s worrying that over half of all people aged 75 and over live alone. Not only will saying ‘hello’ reduce loneliness and perhaps mean they have spoken to someone that day, but it can reduce the likelihood of them being victims of crime. Older people can be more vulnerable to cons and fraud, doorstep crime, distraction burglary and online/telephone scams. If they have someone they can trust they are more likely to question something, perhaps saving them from a financial con and neighbours can notice if strangers are at their door. So I urge you this October to say ‘hello’ and look out for an elderly neighbour near you.
A new report by the Justice Select Committee states that restorative justice should be available to all victims of crime and this is something that I strongly welcome. Restorative justice brings victims and offenders together to discuss what happened during the incident, with the aim of giving victims a voice and presenting offenders with the consequences of their actions. I truly believe that all victims of crime should have access to restorative justice services if they would like to do so. We know that restorative justice is a process that can have a positive impact on everyone involved and is why I continue to support it and to make it available to all victims across Avon and Somerset. You can find out more at www.lighthousevictimcare.org
My congratulations go out to Fahma Mohamed honoured in the Post’s Gold Star Awards for her tireless campaign to end FGM, she truly is a remarkable young person who thoroughly deserves the accolades. I also want to praise the Constabulary’s Detective Chief Inspector Leanne Pook, who is the force and regional lead for FGM. As part of her enduring commitment to raising awareness of the issue and protecting victims, Leanne is currently travelling to Tanzania and Kenya to take on a fundraising challenge by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. She has raised over £5,000 for the Divinity Foundation and specifically for an FGM Rescue Centre in Amboseli, Kenya, which care for girls rescued from FGM and child marriage.
I was privileged on Saturday to be invited to the opening of the refurbished Bristol Sikh Temple, Nirman Sewak Jatha Gurdwara, along with the Chief Constable Andy Marsh and Kerry McCarthy MP. It’s an absolute highlight of my role to be invited to these types of occasions. Experiencing different cultures and traditions is something I thoroughly relish. I strongly believe that in embracing and learning more about different cultures, past times and religious places of worship, our society will benefit and be a much richer, stronger and more vibrant place.