Posted: Friday 7th June 2019
I had the pleasure of attending the Grand Iftar celebrations last week. With over 6,000 guests gathered in St Marks Road it was a truly memorable occasion and I was humbled to be one of the first people to taste one of the vast vats of Biryani being served at the celebration. I was also taken with my new job title given to me on the night ‘Cuisine and Crime Commissioner,’ there aren’t many perks in the role but being chief taster is certainly one.
This week there were tears and heartfelt tributes to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Many veterans who descended on Portsmouth for commemorations on Wednesday were visibly overwhelmed as they recalled the events on the beaches of northern France all those decades ago. I was delighted to see local veteran Jim Booth, 97, taking part in proceedings. Jim Booth was viciously attacked with a claw hammer in his own home in 2017. A truly abhorrent crime and Jim’s horrific injuries are etched in my memory. Avon and Somerset Police found his attacker and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempted murder last year. On D-Day, Jim was at the vanguard of the liberation shining a beacon out to sea to guide allied craft safely to shore during the landings. It’s important that we never forget the courage, heroism and sacrifice of all those who fought for our freedom.
It’s been the week for marking those who go the extra mile with a special mention to our volunteers during Volunteers Week. There are hundreds of volunteers across the policing family including local people who volunteer for me helping me scrutinise the police or checking on the welfare of people in police custody. Volunteers bring a wide range of skills and experience to their roles and I’m always humbled that so many choose to dedicate their most precious of things, their time, to helping us in our work. We all benefit from the contributions of so many selfless others and I thank them personally for their commitment to their communities.
Next week we will also recognise our policing heroes who have gone above and beyond in their role in keeping communities safe and free from fear, just like the officers and staff who made sure that Jim Booth’s attacker was brought to justice. Our annual Be Proud awards is one of the highlights of my year and I look forward to meeting all the men and women finalists and their families next week at Cadbury House Hotel.
My next public forum will be in The Auditorium at Keynsham Civic Centre on June 19 at 7pm. I really look forward to these forums as it’s an opportunity to speak to local people, find out what they think about policing in the area and answer any questions they may have. Local people tell me that they see these meetings as an opportunity to share their concerns and to help make the communities of safer and stronger.