Posted: Monday 8th August 2016
We are continuing to see a worrying increase in reports of hate crime within Avon and Somerset. While I am pleased that people have the confidence to come forward and report and I encourage all those affected by hate crime to do so, it is utterly unacceptable that people should suffer abuse or attacks because of their nationality or ethnic background. Brexit is not an excuse for the hatred being incited amongst our local communities.
It is heartening that the overwhelming response to such events has been to condemn them. There is a tangible desire to show support for one another, such as last month’s random acts of kindness and the peace picnic in South Bristol last Sunday. We are showing that we will not tolerate such incidents and that we are united in condemning it. We cannot let a minority of people’s views instil fear in the rest of us.
Again I want victims to know that if they experience hate crime that the police are here for them and support is available. Please call 101 in a non-emergency, 999 in an emergency or anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
We have heard a lot this week about how strong, resilient communities defeat terrorism and I couldn’t agree more. Communities who look out for each other and are vigilant defeat those intent on causing us harm.
In the UK, policing operates by consent - the consent of the public and the cooperation between local people and the police is our greatest asset. The National Police Chief Council (NPCC) highlighted that ‘at least 3639 contributions from the public every day’ help keep us all safe in our collective effort against terrorism.
We have all been facing the same national threat level for the past two-years, meaning that "an attack is highly likely" and sadly events in France and the rest of Europe are never far from our minds. The NPCC are reminding us not to be complacent and that every call, every piece of information and intelligence-gathered helps the police to undermine the plans of terrorists every day.
Bringing our communities together, building positive relationships and inspiring our young people were just some of the reasons the Empire Fighting Chance scheme received funding from my Community Action Fund last week. The boxing classes provide the students with structure, discipline and an outlet for their frustrations and energy which is having a really positive effect on their behaviour, attitude and self-esteem. I have visited the boxing club and have seen some excellent role models for our young people and I have been able to see first-hand the difference it makes. I look forward to reading the next round of Community Action Fund applications.
I am continuing to ask residents to share their views on the priorities they want to set the police. My team will be at the Islamic Cultural Fayre, Eastville Park on Sunday to speak to local people face-to-face. All the feedback will help shape the next Police and Crime Plan for Avon and Somerset. Only by hearing from you about what matters most in your community can I truly be your voice in local policing. Have your say at www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk or alternatively call 01275 816377, the consultation closes on August 30.