Posted: Friday 12th February 2016
When Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens was elected she pledged to go out and visit members of the local community, organisations, projects and victims across Avon and Somerset at least once a week. Sue spends these out and about community days visiting a variety of places across Avon and Somerset and speaking with local authority partners, young people and residents.
Out and about community days have been running for three years during this time Sue has visited a wide variety of destinations covering the nine local authority areas, listening to some devastating and eye opening stories, but also hearing about the life changing services people have received as well as meeting some truly inspirational people. A typical out and about day could include: visiting charities, local projects, community schemes, public drop in sessions, presenting PCC Pride Awards, visiting Commissioner’s Community Action Funded projects and attending events such as St Pauls Carnival or the Bath and West Show.
My main responsibilities when arranging Sue’s out and about days are researching and contacting relevant projects, charities as well as following up on requests from people who have asked for Sue to visit them in their local area. I have been arranging and attending community days with Sue for seven months and during that time there have been a few visits which have been particularly memorable to me for different reasons.
We recently visited Jane Hofmeister the founder and driving force behind Think Amy; a safe driving campaign and registered charity set up by Jane after her daughter Amy was tragically killed by dangerous driving. I was honoured to meet such an inspirational lady and hear about the work the Think Amy charity is doing in order to prevent accidents as a result from unsafe driving. I took a lot away from the visit and it made me think about my own driving and reiterated the importance of driving safely.
During an out and about day in Bristol I had my first visit to a prison to meet with the co-ordinators of Story Book Dads which is ran in HMP Bristol. I remember Sue asking me if prison was what I was expecting. To be honest it was similar to what I was expecting, although we did only briefly pass through before heading to the prison library. Never-the-less even this passing visit reminded me that it wasn’t somewhere I wanted to go any time soon.
Another visit which I found really interesting was going out with the Yeovil Bobby van carpenter. During the visit, the carpenter, Sue and I attended a call to a couple who had recently been burgled. On arrival Matt the carpenter offered advice on ways to increase security and arranged to fit locks on their doors to not only increase their safety, but also hopefully their confidence. I found it really interesting seeing first-hand the service people receive when they have unfortunately become a victim of crime and seeing the difference it can make to their confidence by having a visit from the bobby van.
Sue has always said that she is determined to not just listen to those who shout the loudest and her commitment to listening to local people’s concerns and queries on these community days is testament to this. Visiting projects and services across Avon and Somerset helps Sue in listening to the quietest voices, those who are vulnerable and unable to speak up. The out and about days also provide Sue with valuable insights into the organisations and residents that make up Avon and Somerset.
If you would like PCC Sue Mountstevens or a member of her team to visit you, your community or a local project please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
You can stay up-to-date with Sue’s community days by following her on Twitter - @AandSPCC and @SuMountstevens
Events and Engagement Co-ordinator (one year student placement)