Posted: Friday 21st December 2018
As always at this time of year, there will be people working hard day and night over Christmas to ensure our safety and protection. On behalf of all the communities of Avon and Somerset, I want to say how incredibly grateful we all are in particular to those individuals in the National Health Service, police and other emergency services and in voluntary and charity organisations who keep us safe over the festive period and for the sacrifices they make for us.
Before the festivities begin, I want to discuss the Home Secretary’s announcement regarding the decision that Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) across the country will have the flexibility to raise the policing part of the council tax by up to £2 a month for the average band D household.
The additional money will allow us to recruit locally an extra 100 police officers who will be deployed by the Chief Constable proactively to address crimes that really concern local people such as drugs, burglary and serious violence especially knife crime.
This year, we have seen drug related ‘county lines’ murders in Bridgwater and Yeovil, all involving people who have travelled to our towns to commit their crimes and push their drugs. Knife crime continues to blight our communities and reports show an increase of more than 50% over the past year.
I’m committed to intensify our fight against serious violence on our streets and in our towns with high profile disruption activity. Sending a loud and clear message to criminals that are coming into our area to commit their crimes and exploit our children is not an option.
I have spent the last year gathering views on a £1 a month rise, which 82% of local people support. Following this rise, we are on track to recruit police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) to maintain local neighbourhood policing numbers and to support every local primary and secondary school with a named PCSO or officer. The additional money next year will allow us to recruit an extra 100 officers - the first time this has happened since 2010 - and to proactively target criminals.
I appreciate that an additional £2 a month is a big ask, please do share your views by visiting: www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk
Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas and New Year.