Meet your PCC – Mark Shelford : PCC Update Feb ’24 (March edition)

I am deeply saddened by the recent shocking and senseless deaths of two boys, aged only 15 and 16, in South Bristol. The grief being felt by the families of those boys and the impact it will have on their loved ones, as well as the wider community, is unimaginable. 

This, along with the commencement of the trial of the boys accused of the tragic murder of Mikey Roynon, means that the importance of preventing knife crime and stopping young people from coming to harm must be at the forefront of all our minds.

This is an area of focus for our Violence Reduction Partnership, which provides education, mentoring, and employs a community-based approach to prevent these tragic crimes. Additionally, to encourage people to safely discard any knives and weapons they are carrying, Avon and Somerset Police have installed weapon surrender bins across Avon and Somerset and lifesaving bleed control kits designed to control bleeding after someone suffers a traumatic injury.

There is also excellent community action happening across South Gloucestershire to increase public safety. I had the pleasure of meeting with Neighbourhood Watch Members and one of their local MPs recently and I would also like to applaud the Neighbourhood Watch’s work. 

Many of you will be aware that Avon and Somerset Police are featured in a three-part documentary series on Channel 4 that looks behind the scenes at how their Professional Standards Department investigates police misconduct cases. I fully support Chief Constable Sarah Crew’s decision to invite the Channel 4 team into the Professional Standards Department and Counter Corruption Unit to follow the important work they do. The challenges around trust and confidence in the police nationally have been well-documented, and Avon and Somerset Police are demonstrating that, to bring about long-term culture change, transparency and openness are vital.

While the documentaries are upsetting to watch, focusing on cases relating to mental health, race, and sexual misconduct, I see it as fundamental to bringing about a whole-system, sustainable change in policing culture and leadership. Police officers need to operate within a supportive and reflective practice culture where illegal actions are rightly investigated.   

Finally, as I write this, we have Safer Internet Day coming up. I want to take this opportunity to remind you of the need for robust cybersecurity measures: Use strong and unique passwords for each online account you hold and exercise caution when clicking on links or providing personal information online. If you stay vigilant, you can protect your information from falling into the wrong hands and can be part of creating a safer internet experience for everyone.

Until next time, Fare thee well…

Mark Shelford, Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner

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