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PCC visits community groups in Bristol

On the right Trev, Kerry McCarthy, PCC Mark Shelford and Inspector Stuart King.

Last Friday (16th February) the PCC was in Bristol East where he met with the local MP, and residents and visited Sparks Bristol. He also visited Frome.

The PCC started the day with a roundtable meeting with the MP for Bristol East, Kerry McCarthy at Café Grounded along Church Road. Joining the meeting was Neighbourhood Inspector Tom Gent. They discussed residents’ concerns about ASB and van dwellers around St George Park.

The PCC had the opportunity to join a walkabout of the area with Kerry McCarthy MP and met a couple of residents who expressed great concern about the van dwellers. They cited a recent incident where a fire was light up in the park. And that one of the van dwellers was aggressive and abusive towards residents demanding to charge his mobile phones. One of the residents said the fire incident was reported to the police and the concerned individual was arrested. Residents told the PCC and MP that an elderly resident who has been living in the area for many years is said to be making plans to leave the area in fear for her life. Both the PCC Mark Shelford and Kerry McCarthy MP emphasized that residents need to continue to engage with the council to address the challenges. On the other hand, residents expressed that they have been engaging the Council, but nothing is working. However, on the day of the day, the PCC and MP saw a van being towed away. This followed a concerted effort by one of the residents. A residents’ meeting with the Council was planned at the Beehive Centre.

After the walkabout in St George Park, the PCC and Kerry McCarthy MP met with Mr Grenville Johnson another resident who lives in the constituency on Kensington Road. Mr Johnson is a former headteacher who used to run the area’s Neighbourhood Watch and has recently led the Kensington Road Residents’ Association, as well as running St George in Bloom. He raised various issues of crime, illegal car parking and ASB in the area, including problems with residents at the St Mungo’s hostel on his road, and concerns about graffiti.

Sergeant Sean Underwood, Jenny Foster, PCC Mark Shelford and Inspector Stuart King.

Following this, the PCC visited Sparks Bristol where he met with Jenny Foster, Project Director, Global Goals Centre. Police Sergeant Sean Underwood joined the tour. Jenny gave the PCC a tour of the Sparks, a departmental store with a difference, co-created by Global Goals Centre and Artspace Lifespace. Jenny told the PCC, “From fashion and food to nature and energy, each department is designed to support people in Bristol to take easy (and often money-saving) actions on climate, equality, and wellbeing.”

On the ground floor, there is a range of shops, installations, events, and more while upstairs is a hub for local artists, offering affordable studios, rehearsal, and performance space.

Jenny also expressed that like many shops in the centre, shoplifting is an issue of concern, but they work well with the police and all partners to tackle some of the challenges.

From visiting Sparks Bristol, the PCC went to meet with Bishop Raymond Veira at the Porto Lounge on Fishponds Road.

They discussed knife crime, and how they work and mentor young people who may be involved in crime-related activities/groups, and what we can do to prevent it. His Church is planning a residential weekend away from Bristol for young people and is currently looking for potential partners to fund some of the work.

The PCC ended the day with a meeting in Frome to review CCTV in Frome – how many cameras, how often used by the Police, and in what way (evidence gathering vs operational) and discussing best ways of working for CCTV in Frome.