As the final bank holiday of the summer begins, Deputy PCC John Smith discusses why now is not the time to become complacent.
“We must remember that we are still in the middle of a global health pandemic and there have been recent increases in the rates of infection locally; the last thing we want is a localised outbreak that means we have an increase in restrictions – we’ve seen how difficult this has been in the North of England. Let’s continue to take personal responsibility and adhere to the regulations.
“As I discussed in this week’s Facebook Live webchat with Chief Constable Andy Marsh, Avon and Somerset Police are encouraging local people to continue what they have been doing so far; respect Government guidelines by staying away from large gatherings to help stop the spread of the virus.
“I know there are some events planned for this weekend including the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations. Given the recent increases in infection, I do not think this is the time for people from different households to come together and risk a localised outbreak however important the cause. Please follow the guidelines and show your support from home.
“Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) based in Bristol. The team, led by Bristol City Council, work with partners across the city to tackle serious violence in our communities.
“The dedicated team are working hard to allocate their share of the £1.16 million pot of funding from the Home Office to reduce violent crime in our area. I’m pleased to hear the progress they have made by working with schools in the city. From working with the siblings of those who have offended in the past to reducing the number of pupils excluded from school, the team have had a positive impact on the young people involved.
“The team has gone above and beyond to adapt in order to support young people during the public health emergency. I am pleased to hear that the team has been working closely with the local policing team in Bristol, which has had an encouraging influence on young people and their families.
“Last week, PCC Sue Mountstevens announced that the Office of the PCC have been successful in our bid of £98,101 from the Home Office to support smaller charities across Avon and Somerset in the work to reduce violence. This additional funding will strengthen local support services’ response to any local issues.
“Growing Futures is just one of the charities receiving additional funding from the Home Office and I was lucky enough to visit the team last Friday and also meet mentors from Bristol Horn Youth Concern and Full Circle. I am in awe of their youth work and community mentoring, and the team offer fantastic support to young people including one-to-one mentoring and targeted group work. I hope this additional funding will be beneficial to the charities and allow them to continue offering support to those who need it most.”