Posted: Tuesday 2nd June 2020
There have been a number of high profile incidents in the United States, which have shone a light on the grave injustices experienced by people from African American communities, and black and minority ethnic people all over the world, at the hands of the police and the criminal justice system.
Most recently, the awful events in Minnesota which resulted in the death of George Floyd in appalling circumstances for which a police officer has been dismissed and charged with murder.
Understandably, people are angry and upset and that has manifested itself in protests and also some terrible outbreaks of violence and disorder in many places across America.
Here in Avon and Somerset our communities join others all over the world with expressions of solidarity in their frustration and anger at the senselessness and injustice of these travesties.
I would like to use the words of Martin Luther King who said that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. This is not just a matter for people from BaME communities. We must all work together for human rights to effect change in society.
The global pandemic has highlighted the disparities and divides along racial and socio-economic lines and the disproportionate impact Covid19 has had on many communities. We must work to change the circumstances that create and compound those undeniable inequalities.
This is a stark reminder that we still have so much to do.
As your Police and Crime Commissioner, I am your voice in policing and I will do all I can to listen to everyone in our communities, especially the quiet voices that are not heard or represented.
I will continue to hold Chief Constable Andy Marsh, and his officers, to account to ensure that the police service is addressing disparities faced by those communities.
My team and I will continue to work with the Chief Constable and our partners in the criminal justice system to ensure we are always working towards Avon and Somerset Police becoming the most inclusive, representative and outstanding police service for everyone.
In the UK we are fortunate to have a model of policing by consent and I am proud to highlight that an important part of that is the work of the independent panels set up by my office to scrutinise police powers and review complaints against the police in Avon and Somerset.
We must stand together to fight for a stronger, fairer society built on a foundation of unity and equity.