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Hate crime has no place

PCC Sue Mountstevens

PCC Sue Mountstevens discusses the recent incident in Southmead, which involved a vehicle being deliberately driven at a young man and racist language being used towards him following the collision.

“The 21-year-old man, who works at Southmead Hospital, has courageously spoken out about the physical and emotional impact this awful, racially aggravated, assault has had on him and his family. He said, “we will not let the haters win” and I fully support this young man’s stance; hate crime of any kind has no place in our neighbourhoods, towns or cities.

“Our message is clear: hate crime of any kind whether it is race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender will not be tolerated in Avon and Somerset.

“I know this shocking and cowardly act is being investigated by officers as a matter of urgency. Avon and Somerset Police will continue to support the victim and his family, and are determined to bring offenders to justice. Officers are also working in partnership with community leaders in the Horfield and Southmead area as well as with local authorities to reassure local people.

“We work alongside and commission some brilliant services and partners in our force area, such as Swan Advocacy and SARI, who are committed to supporting victims of hate crime. I encourage anyone who has been affected by this awful crime to come forward, speak out and access help. You deserve to be heard.

“I want to thank officers for their ongoing work in the face of demanding weekends. Officers, staff and teams face multiple complex issues and difficult decisions as part of their every day jobs and, on top of this, they are dealing with increasingly frequent illegal and unlicensed raves.

“I know local people have felt frustrated over the last few weeks by some of the decisions made by Avon and Somerset Police regarding these unauthorised events. Since then, officers have listened to local residents’ concerns and have worked really hard to tackle these concerns as well as prepare for similar events.

“Early prevention is key for stopping these events that disrupt local people in the surrounding area. Officers and staff who spend countless hours gathering intelligence on such events are to be commended as well as the local people who have showed courage and contacted the police to flag potential raves. I believe illegal, unlicensed events are going to be a recurring issue throughout the summer, so it is essential we do not let our guard down and continue to work together to prevent further disruption in our communities.

“Finally, we now have to wear face masks while in shops and while it is not pleasant and will take some time to get used to, people have acted responsibly and by following these measures. I support the police’s approach to only use enforcement as a last resort; we must continue to take personal responsibility and not let our sacrifices go to waste.

“I know navigating the coronavirus regulations and guidance can feel frustrating and tiresome; I cannot imagine how people who have holidays booked to go to Spain feel about having to change their plans. We all deserve a break, which at times, is hard to do when we are contending with changing rules and advice. However, please do not feel dejected; we will get through this and we need to keep following these measures to keep our loved ones safe and stop the spread of the virus.

“Until next time, stay safe.”