Last Friday (1st of September), the PCC Mark Shelford visited elected leaders, some residents, and community groups in South Gloucestershire to understand policing concerns in the area as part of his weekly Friday Engagement initiative across the Avon & Somerset area.
Marked started the visit with a round table meeting with Luke Hall MP for Thornbury, Yate and surrounding areas where he was updated about concerns from residents about the general ASB in the town. A resident of Rockhampton, Joanne Shipp, a former police officer, who is looking to set up a Neighbourhood Watch in the village joined the meeting. The discussion also included the need for the police to maintain local presence in Thornbury and surrounding villages (Alveston, Olveston, Rockhampton, Oldbury-on-Severn, etc.)
Together with Luke Hall MP, the PCC had the opportunity to walk through the High Street and spoke to residents who raised concerns about the pedestrianisation measures on the High Street and that this could lead to increased ASB and vandalism.
Residents told the PCC that Rock Street, which runs parallel to the High Street, is now dealing with a high volume of traffic, and there are general concerns about road safety.
Residents and Luke Hall MP also expressed concern about reports of crime incidents in the area. In June 2023, 50 crimes were reported in Thornbury: violence and sexual offences – 24; Anti-social behaviour – 7; Public order offences – 6 and all other crime – 13. Another emerging issue of concern for residents was the use of e-scooters across South Gloucestershire.
The PCC rounded his visit in Thornbury with a visit to Daggs Allotment, where he heard about the incredible work by residents who come together to grow vegetables to support food banks and members of the community.
Following this, The PCC met with Jack Lopresti MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke, and councillors for Stoke Gifford, Cllr Neel Das Gupta and Cllr Keith Cranney to discuss local crime and safety issues and policing concerns in the constituency and their respective wards. Among the issues discussed raised by residents and constituent members include ASB at night, reckless driving of e-scooters in the area leading to accidents.
A growing number of youths with masks and balaclavas, which causes residents to feel unsafe. An increase in number of unregistered e-bikes and mopeds, speeding and driving recklessly in Harry Stoke and surrounding areas. Bad graffiti in playground for younger kids in Brooklands Park were among some of the issues raised by MP Lopresti and the Councillors. The PCC assured them he will do what he can under his powers for the public to have confidence in the police. The PCC is working in the area and nationally on ways to address the concerns around e-scooters and e-bikes.
“I had the pleasure of meeting with the two MPs, Councillors, and some residents.They raised concerns from within their respective constituencies and wards, which included anti-social behaviour, graffiti in play areas and the reckless driving of e-scooters.
“I would like to provide reassurance to local residents that I have listened to these concerning issues and am working closely with the police and partners to explore ways in which we can address them.” – Mark Shelford