Posted: Monday 28th October 2019
In April this year, I increased the policing part of the council tax to introduce Operation Remedy to tackle the issues that matter most to local people; drugs, knife crime and burglary. We’re now six months into Op Remedy and I’m delighted to see tangible results, particularly the continuous reduction in the number of burglary offences. Nearly twice as many burglars are being brought to justice by Avon and Somerset Police, with positive outcomes for burglary offences increasing from 4.3% in April 2019 to 7.7%. There are 661 fewer burglaries across Avon and Somerset – 9% less than the previous year – thanks to an uplift in arrests and more engagement with local people to help them secure their homes.
In the six months since Op Remedy launched, officers have made around four arrests per day, 493 in total, relating to approximately 1100 offences and 67 warrants. Officers have also seized an estimated £1.3 million worth of illegal drugs while activity to combat knife crime includes 570 intelligence-led stop and searches, multiple knife sweeps and temporary knife arches at train stations including Bath Spa, Taunton and Bristol Temple Meads.
I hope that local people are pleased with the outcomes achieved so far, especially how officers have tackled burglary. Many burglary victims have shared with me how upsetting this crime is and it can mean that the live in fear in the place they should feel safest – their own home. There is still plenty more to be done and I know the Constabulary will remain focused on dealing with the issues that matter most to local people and bring offenders to justice.
In support of Anti-Slavery Day last Friday, the Constabulary and I are urging hosts of short-term rental properties to make themselves aware of the signs of modern slavery and sexual exploitation to ensure it is not taking place in their properties. There is a concern that traffickers are turning short-term and holiday rental properties into ‘pop-up’ brothels to sexually exploit vulnerable women and girls. The properties can be easily booked online, without the need for large deposits or for tenants to meet with hosts during their stay.
Many hosts are completely unaware that their property could be used for this reason as their properties can be easily booked online, without the need for hosts to meet with tenants during their stay. However, it is important for hosts to help the Constabulary in identifying potential exploitation and reporting any suspicious activity.
We all have a role to play in being a louder voice for the vulnerable women who are being exploited for sex and, let’s not forget, that pop-up brothels could be happening in the house next door to you, on your street or in your community. This issue cannot be tackled in isolation and we all need to be aware how to spot the signs to help us end modern slavery once and for all.