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February PAB Review 

Knife crime, vetting, police conduct, and local police funding were the topics Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Shelford questioned Chief Constable (CC) Sarah Crew about this month.

Every month, PCC Shelford holds CC Crew to account in a publicly broadcast live forum called the Performance and Accountability Board (PAB)

The PAB gives the PCC a chance to conduct one of his most important legal duties which is to hold the Chief Constable to account in delivering policing that is efficient, effective, and legitimate. 

The February meeting was broadcast live on Facebook, you can watch it here. 

PCC Mark Shelford started the meeting by acknowledging the tragic death of Max Dixon (16) and Mason Rist (15), who were stabbed in Bristol two weeks ago.

The PCC sent his sympathies and condolences to everyone who has been affected by this. You can read his statement here.

Stop and searches

PCC Shelford started by stating that, from the last quarterly report, he can see that the homicide levels are higher than the most similar groups of forces in the last couple of years. However, the amount of serious violence remains lower.

PCC wanted to discuss stop and search.

CC Crew said: “Stop and search is a really intrusive power.

“Whilst we need to be very confident and robust in using it… we can’t use the scourge of knife crime as a reason to use our powers where the information isn’t present, and the use of the power is likely to be unreasonable.”

PCC followed up by asking what other proactive policing Avon and Somerset Police are doing to tackle knife crime. CC revealed we will see the force standing up a higher profile, proactive operation that brings all the various skill sets and partners together to tackle this problem.


Alice Ripley, Chief of Staff (CoS) for Avon and Somerset PCC, moved onto a different item which was discussed in a meeting back in September, which was vetting.

CoS stated: “You (Deputy CC) explained that you have been submitting details of the workforce to be checked against the police national database and were working through a significant amount of information that you have received back.”

She asked for an update on what has happened since.

DCC explained that this meant Avon and Somerset submitted over 7,600 records of police, staff, and volunteers into the national police database.

DCC stated that there were no criminal investigations required within Avon and Somerset Police force; six matters were flagged where misconduct investigations could be considered – one officer and five members of staff. Further to this, twelve cases were identified and required a vetting review, the majority of these have been completed so far.

Channel 4 Documentary – To Catch a Copper

All three episodes of this show have been aired, and it is about Avon and Somerset Police, particularly through the lens of the professional standards organisation.

PCC asked How CC and the force move forward from here, to improve the standards of behaviour at Avon and Somerset Police but also gain that confidence of the public?

CC Crew stated that most of their officers and staff provide excellent service to the public and they really want to see poor standards and behaviour tackled. They do not see this as part of and representing them.

Aswell as that policing is a difficult and challenging job and we saw a bit of that in the documentary and people in policing are human and make honest mistakes with good intent.

Where the intent is bad, its criminal, in breach of the standards of professional behaviour or where it offends their values; she assured misconduct processes will follow.

Police Funding – precept

Finally, PCC Shelford moved onto the precept. He stated he has had many contacts regarding this item.

The precept is the amount of money you contribute to local police services through your council tax bill, the PCC is responsible for setting this amount of money.

2/3 homes in Avon and Somerset are bands B-C.

This year the government allowed the PCCs to increase the precept by a maximum of £13 (for a band D household). On the 1st of February, the Police and Crime Panel approved the PCCs ask of an £13 increase.

PCC, asked CC: what this increase means to Avon and Somerset, and what will the service be providing to our communities?

CC said this increase has given Avon and Somerset £1.8 million more than they were expecting into their budget. T they will spend it on retaining 40 officers permanently onto Avon and Somerset Polices establishment, this will fill gaps within their neighbourhood and partnership teams and will help them deliver greater visibility, which in the context of topics like knife crime, it is never more important. 

PCC then closed the meeting:

“Thank you, Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable, and my Chief of Staff, Alice.
“The next meeting is on the 13th of March at 14:30.

“Until next time, stay safe”.