February 2020: News from Avon and Somerset PCC
With 2020 under way, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) are thinking ahead to May’s PCC elections. After two exciting, challenging and productive terms as an independent PCC, I have decided I will not put myself forward for re-election.
I make this decision with mixed emotions but absolute conviction that, after eight years of working with the police as well as key partners, this is the right decision for the OPCC, the Constabulary and, most importantly, local people.
I feel fortunate that I have been able to be part of decisions and projects that have found solutions and pushed boundaries of innovation for the Constabulary and within shared work with our partners in the criminal justice system, local authorities, health service, charities, community groups, businesses and local residents.
I want local people to be assured that we will not be taking our foot off the pedal between now and the elections. I am still your PCC until May and I will be doing everything I can to push forward crucial policing matters to improve the lives of local people in our area.
One particular piece I will be focused on in the coming months are the Violence Reduction Units (VRUs). Set up last September, the VRUs are made up of our five local authorities, education, police, clinical commissioning groups, public health departments, charities and community groups.
We initially received £1.16m to set up the VRU and the Government has just announced Avon and Somerset will receive a further £1.16m to tackle serious violence among young people in our communities.
Over the last few months, recent cases in our area have involved the conviction of a 14-year-old for manslaughter involving a knife and another 14-year-old was charged with murder in December following the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old. These cases only reinforces to me how important it is to identify and provide interventions for these young people at a much earlier stage and make them feel part of a society in which they want to contribute in order to stop them taking the wrong path.
The additional funding allows us to continue building on the public health approach to tackling the root causes of these terrible offences that have devastating impact on victims, perpetrators, their families and entire communities. We need to be working together to stop young lives being lost or wasted because of serious violence.
It is important to be clear this is not a quick fix and taking this bigger picture approach, which is widely recognised by all partners as the only way to tackle serious violence effectively, is going to need commitment and long term investment. I will be sure to keep you updated on the initiatives that are being rolled out for young people who are at risk of being involved in knife crime or being victims.