Posted: Monday 11th July 2016
I wanted to start this week’s column reflecting on the open letter the Chief Constable and I sent to communities regarding the troublesome increase we’ve seen in hate crime across Avon and Somerset. It is clear that local people are feeling unsettled by the uncertainty of Brexit, however this is not an excuse for the hatred being incited amongst our local communities. Hate crime destroys lives, instils fear and rocks communities and this is something that will not be tolerated. Offenders will be targeted for their appalling behaviour and we will do all we can to bring an end to hate crime.
As your PCC, the Police and so many other support and partner organisations that make up Avon and Somerset, we are taking a stand to say hate crime is not welcome here. We also want victims to know that if you have experienced hate crime, we are here and support is available. We all have a right to be safe and feel safe in the places we live and work, free from judgment, prejudice and discrimination. We are all members of one community who should be pulling together, celebrating our diversity and showing our unity.
On Tuesday, I joined BBC Radio Bristol for their morning hot seat, talking about policing and crime and answering your questions. I thoroughly enjoy being on the show and hearing from you about a range of policing topics. Questions asked included those on road safety, anti-social behaviour and how you can help to make our police service more representative of the local communities it serves. I also asked what you believe should be a priority for the police and if you’ve yet to have your say on our live consultation, I’d encourage you to do so by visiting my website www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk.
The point about ensuring our police service is representative of our communities is a really important one and over the next four years I want to see far greater diversity and true equality of opportunity. There are many employment opportunities within the police and the Constabulary are currently recruiting for Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). It’s our PCSOs that are usually most recognised and well regarded by residents, as they are often seen patrolling the community on foot or bicycle and are the ‘eyes and ears’ of our local area. If you’d like to find out more and to apply visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk.
I’d also like to say a big well done to the schools awarded Bristol Ideal status at the Healthy Schools and Bristol Ideal Awards this week. I have always been passionate about the ideology behind the Bristol Ideal and I am so proud to have been and continue to be involved in such a ground-breaking scheme, working with young people across the city to educate them in healthy relationships. This is a real achievement for the schools involved and I truly believe that working towards the common goal of showing our children that inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated, is the great gift we can give them.