Posted: Monday 3rd July 2017
At the end of last week, I was delighted to hear Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP acknowledge, that following the recent atrocities, police resources are stretched and that counter-terrorism operations cannot continue at an emergency level indefinitely. Given the current situation with regards to policing at this critical crime, the Chief Constable and I felt compelled to take the opportunity to write to the Home Secretary, Prime Minister Theresa May MP and Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd MP to make them aware of our situation locally. In a letter, we explained how policing in Avon and Somerset is being pushed to its limit and with the significant reductions in funding and ongoing savings to find the situation is not sustainable.
We previously wrote to local MPs asking for their support and on Tuesday we shared this letter with the Police and Crime Panel, who also backed our actions and who plan on writing to endorse our views. Within Avon and Somerset we have worked hard to preserve frontline policing as much as possible. We know that the role neighbourhood policing plays is vital in tackling terrorism through gathering intelligence and is the only long term solution, working with partners, to addressing these challenges. That’s why, not only are we asking for investment in additional armed response officers to respond to the direct threat of terrorism, but also for investment in neighbourhood policing to provide prevention and early intervention.
As I have previously said, I have been truly heartened by the local communities’ response to the recent atrocities and we cannot let hate win. As Ramadan came to an end, I was delighted to have been invited to the Shah Jalal Jame Mosque on Stapleton Road to join members of the local community at their Iftari event. One of the many highlights of my role as your PCC, is to be invited to events such as this and I relish the opportunity to learn about more about and experience different cultures, traditions and in this case, the teachings of Islam. Everyone has the right to live and worship peacefully without fear of being targeted because of their ethnicity or religion and I wanted to continue to reassure our local communities that the police and doing everything they can to keep us safe.
Terrorist attacks cannot overshadow the love, peace and warmth held by our local communities. It must not stop us from coming together. I welcome any opportunity that brings together friends, families, neighbours and local communities and I can think of no better example than last Thursday’s St Marks Road celebrations in Easton. Over 2000 members of the local community, including residents, local councillors, religious leaders and local businesses, graced the streets to share in the Iftari celebrations and break the fast. The streets were filled with colour, laughter and aromatic scents all adding to the wonderful atmosphere of the evening. It’s events like this that make me love this city and I was delighted to see people of all ages, young and old, come together uniting in solidarity as one community.