Posted: Friday 9th November 2018
This week I was delighted to host an awards ceremony with the Mayor of Bristol to say thank you to all the people who made this year’s St Paul’s carnival possible. It was fabulous to remind ourselves once again of the colour, diversity, creativity and vibrancy of this summer’s event. It’s important to say thank you to those in our city who step up and make things happen. I was also keen to recognise the efforts of our emergency services, the men and women who helped ensure the day ran safely. Along with our council staff from licensing to highways, who all played an important part in making sure the 50th
anniversary event went ahead. It was wonderful to share this recognition with all the carnival volunteers and their families and loved ones.
I’ve begun a conversation with local people about the policing part of the council tax. While the Chancellor’s budget never gave anything away I am hoping that Police and Crime Commissioners are once again given the flexibility to raise the policing part of the council tax by £1 a month. With last year’s £1 a month rise we were able to start an ambitious programme of recruitment and commit to employing up to 300 police officers. We were also able to protect neighbourhood policing, the police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in your local area, all thanks to your support for the rise.
The Chief Constable and I have agreed that next year’s focus will concentrate on serious violence. The threat from serious and organised crime has changed rapidly, increasing in both volume and complexity and preying on the most vulnerable in society. If we are able to increase the policing part of the council tax by £1 a month next year and the Government grant for policing stays the same and there are no additional surprises we are committed to a new focus on burglary and drugs. We must continue to dismantle the recruitment of vulnerable young people into ‘county lines’ drugs gangs. It’s clear that this leads to an increase in knife-crime and serious violence, including stabbings and gang-related disorder and it must be tackled and given the right resources.
I absolutely recognise that any increase in household bills will be felt by residents and it’s not easy to keep asking local people to contribute to the issues that we are facing in policing and as a society. It’s really important that residents tell me what they would be prepared to pay through my survey or by calling my office 01278 646188. These are difficult decisions and I need to be sure that I have heard from as many local people as possible.
This Sunday we will remember and honour those who lost their lives in war to protect our freedom. Marking 100 years since the end of the First World War has reminded us all again that not everyone gets the chance to grow old and a whole generation of people lost their lives for our liberty. I will join residents and civic leaders at Bristol’s Cenotaph for this year’s two-minute silence. It is always a privilege to attend these important events which allow us to take the time to remember and come together to honour those who did so much for us.