Posted: Friday 5th June 2020
This week has been a week of change; we have seen the introduction of the NHS test and trace service, some children have returned to school and some coronavirus restrictions have been eased. Families and friends can now see each other – while adhering to social distancing – and life is starting to return to some sort of ‘normal.’
As restrictions continue to be slowly lifted, we all have a personal responsibility to follow the Government’s advice to protect the NHS and save lives. We have all sacrificed so much over the past few months – some of you more than others – and we cannot let our efforts go to waste.
Officers will continue to engage, explain and encourage our communities to adhere to the current regulations and will only ever use enforcement if necessary and proportionate to the circumstances. For those who do not follow the guidance, for instance meeting in more than groups of six or having someone from another household in your home, you are at risk of being handed a fine.
Recently, my team and I have been focusing on key priorities for the year ahead to ensure local people are safe and feel safe. For the next 12 months that I’m in office, my four priorities will continue to be:
- Protect the most vulnerable from harm;
- Strengthen and improve local communities;
- Ensuring the police service has the right people, right culture, right capabilities; and
- Work together effectively with other police forces and key partners to deliver better services to local people.
There are particular areas under those priorities that will be a key focus over the coming months as a result of the public health crisis including Violence Reduction Units (VRUs), oversight of the efficiency of the Criminal Justice process, supporting victim services with a particular focus on domestic abuse and engaging with all local communities. I will continue to keep you updated over the coming months on the progress of this work.
I also want to talk about the high profile incidents that have happened in the United States – most recently the appalling death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer - which have shone a light on grave injustices and inequalities experienced by African Americans and black and minority ethnic communities around the world.
Rightly so, people around the world are angry and upset, and communities are expressing solidarity in their frustration and anger at the senselessness and injustice of these travesties. Such issues are not just a matter for people from black and minority ethnic communities; we must all work together and work harder to stand for human rights, to effect change to the systems that create and compound those undeniable inequalities.
I’m very thankful that in the UK we have a model of policing by consent. I am proud to highlight that an important part of policing by consent is the work of independent panels set up to scrutinise police powers, ensure openness, transparency and review complaints against the police in Avon and Somerset. For more information on these panels, I encourage you to visit my website www.avonandsomerset-pcc.org.uk
We must not be complacent, officers will continue to work with communities in Bristol to build trust, confidence and positive relationships with the police. We will continue to be open, transparent and engage with local people from all communities to ensure they are supported by their police force.