Posted: Friday 6th September 2019
With the school holidays over, I’ve been reflecting on the exceptionally busy summer we’ve experienced. From the Extinction Rebellion protests that caused traffic mayhem in and around Bristol to wonderful events including Glastonbury, Pride and the Harbourside Festival, the police have worked really hard over the last few months to keep our communities safe. I know officers will always go above and beyond to support such events and I want to say thank you to all those individuals and teams who have been involved for your hard work.
Last week, I praised the hard work of Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Roads Policing Unit following a reduction in the number of serious injury collisions on our roads of more than 21%. In 2018, there were 393 incidents where people were killed or seriously injured in collisions on the road compared to 478 in 2014, making Avon and Somerset Police the 9th most improved force for reducing the number of people involved in such collisions.
Although one life lost in a collision is one too many, thanks to the hard work of the Roads Policing Unit, our roads are becoming increasingly safer for all road users. The Constabulary help organise and deliver voluntary speeding education courses to approximately 140,000 drivers each year and the Unit is also supported by local people through the 131 Community Speedwatch schemes across the area.
Since 2014, I have also ensured that the Unit has been better equipped to keep our roads safer by purchasing three enforcement motorcycles to support the nine speed enforcement vans as well as acquiring speed cameras from local authorities. We will continue to work with our local partners to keep our roads safe and educate local people on the dangers of driving unsafely.
Finally, I wanted to let you know about the Call In scheme, a bold new pilot aimed at reducing gang, drug and violent crime in east Bristol by diverting young people away from the cycle of criminality.
Although there will always be a role for enforcement, Bristol City Council and local partners including Avon and Somerset Police have recognised the benefits of a public health approach to get to the root causes of this type of criminality and prevent the revolving door of reoffending.
The young people enrolled on the Call In scheme take part in a series of workshops, courses and activities including boxing, support in completing qualifications to get them into the workplace and sessions with Street2Boardroom, a social enterprise that demonstrates how skills learned on the streets can be used in legitimate business. These young people have the potential to make a valuable contribution to society and it’s our responsibility to step up and support them in steering away from a life of crime by offering a different path.