Posted: Friday 3rd March 2017
Broadchurch returned to our screens this week and although I don’t watch a lot of TV, I haven’t been able to escape the wider coverage of the latest series. Not only is part of the programme filmed locally in Clevedon, but the cast and crew have also been working closely with Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (SARSAS) service to support them with their latest storyline. I’ve seen rape and sexual assault portrayed on TV and in films in many different ways. However, I think this is the first time I have felt this was dealt with sensitively and gave a real account of the support available if you’re a victim of this terrible crime. It showed if you choose to report to the police that you will be believed. It showed the role of a sexual assault referral centre, locally in Avon and Somerset, that’s the Bridge. It also showed that you will be given an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) who will be on hand to support you throughout your recovery. Although a deeply harrowing experience, I hope that Broadchurch and their current storyline let victims know that help is available and you are not on your own.
Having the right people in the right roles is crucial to supporting victims, it’s also important when it comes to leadership roles within our local communities. I am keen to encourage a greater diversity of candidates for directly elected roles and that’s why I’m giving local people the opportunity to shadow me. Our elected officials, like our policing service, should be representative of the communities we serve. Sadly this is not always the case and is the reason I feel so passionately about giving people a better insight into the role of PCC. As one of only seven women Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales, I am familiar with the challenges associated with running for a senior elected position. People should not be deterred from standing for elected roles because of their gender, race, religion, sexual preferences or disability. If you love where you live and strive to represent the views of your local community, I believe this is all you need to make a difference.
This month sees a welcome change in the law that will see those people caught driving while using a mobile phone receiving tougher penalties. The changes mean if caught you will now receive a fine of £200 and six penalty points on your licence. If you are a new driver, within the first two years of passing your test, this will result in your licence being revoked. Sadly, too many people still think it is acceptable to use their mobile phones while driving, or allow themselves to be easily distracted when behind the wheel of a vehicle. When someone is killed or seriously injured by a distracted driver, it’s important to recognise that not only do these collisions have a life-long impact on the lives of victims, but also on their friends and families. I hope the tougher penalties will ultimately make our roads a safer place for all who use them.
Road safety, in particular driving while using a mobile phone, is a theme that’s frequently raised with me in person and in my mailbag. It has also been a topic discussed at one of my bi-monthly live Facebook web chats with the Chief Constable. It’s incredibly important that local people get the opportunity to address their local policing questions and concerns, such as this, with their Chief Constable. Having these live sessions every few months allows me to put current and timely topics and questions to the Chief and give local people answers immediately. Our next Facebook live is taking place on Monday, March 13 at 12.30pm and we will be discussing questions raised by local people based on a number of key themes including burglary, drugs and anti-social behaviour. If you’ve got a question please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org