Posted: Friday 11th January 2019
Just before Christmas the Government surprised us all by giving Police and Crime Commissioner’s the power to raise the policing part of the council by £2 a month rather than £1 a month (for the average band D household). The Chief Constable and I have agreed that the additional investment by households will go towards increasing the number of police officers by 100, which is the first time since 2004. With any increase there will be proactive operations to focus specifically on burglary and drugs including tackling knife crime. We’re also 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 coming into our area to commit their crimes and exploit our children is not an option. Please share your views in a short survey on my website www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk
With the arrival of a new year it presents the opportunity to look ahead to 2019. The New Year gives us focus and it certainly has focused the minds of the many who have already applied to become a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO). Applications opened on the police website last week. I would encourage anyone who is interested in serving their community, looking for a new challenge, where no two days are the same, to consider applying.
The Queen’s New Year’s Honours list gave us the opportunity to be proud, with two officers from Avon and Somerset Constabulary recognised. There was well deserved recognition for police constable Adrian Secker and detective constable Jon Hook. Adrian, or Adge as he’s fondly called, was awarded a British Empire Medal for his contribution to community policing in Bath. While Jon received a Queen’s Policing Medal for his work helping and supporting the families of murder victims. They are both inspirational public servants who are a credit to our police service.
I’m under no illusion how difficult a job policing is and the challenging circumstances police officers and our emergency services face on a daily basis in order to keep us safe. However I have been shocked to hear that between December 22 and New Year’s day 53 officers from our police service were assaulted. They were kicked, head-butted, spat at, one women was punched in the face, others were bitten and some officers were racially abused. This year, more than any other I have been struck by the aggression officers and staff are facing. It is disgraceful. Deputy Chief Constable Sarah Crew is tweeting the number of assaults endured for the month of January. She does this with the aim to share the reality our police officers and staff face and, to bear witness to the everyday courage our emergency services demonstrate every single day of the year.
An increase of aggression has sadly also been seen in Westminster; with our MP’s saying they feel intimidated by the ever increasing presence of protestors. The taunts and intimidation Anna Soubry MP faced this week is completely unacceptable. I believe in the right of free speech but I do not think people should be targeted, intimidated or harassed as they carry out their role. And while policing is a difficult job, the level of harassment that our officers have seen over the Christmas period is shameful. It’s a sombre start to 2019 and I truly hope things improve.