Having listened to local residents living in rural areas, it was obvious that rural crime was of concern. So in 2013 a dedicated Rural Crime team was formed. We have set up a Rural Crime Forum so that the police can hear direct about the impact that crime has in our rural communities. This brings together groups such as farming unions, Country, Land and Business Association and young farmers clubs. There has been additional training for officers. There are active Rural FarmWatch and HorseWatch groups.
I introduced a Business Crime Forum for businesses to work with the police to reduce crime, to track crime and improve communication. 25% of all recorded crime relates to business crime. By working closely with the Business Crime Reduction Partnerships and the police, we can prevent crime and deter persistent criminals. www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk
I have introduced a number of independent panels made up from local residents to scrutinise the performance of police.
- I was the first PCC to set up an Independent Residents Panel. The idea was recognised as one The Guardian's "PCC Five Best Ideas"
- I have set up an Out of Court Disposal Scrutiny Panel which review police cautions. This has been copied by many around the country
- I am starting a panel to look at the use of Tasers and Stop & Search
- I have also introduced Service Assurance Delivery Panels which deep dive into certain crimes from the moment it is reported through to the resolution.
This attention to detail gives us the necessary assurance that strategies are being delivered. Again all reports are available on the PCC's www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk
- I work closely with the Independent Advisory Groups around the area so that I can continue to hold the Chief Constable to account for the issues that matter to you.
- The Avon and Somerset Independent Custody Volunteers scheme is one of the largest in the UK with 53 volunteer visitors. They can visit custody at any time to check that detainees' rights, entitlements and welfare are being upheld.
All of this increases the transparency of the police, with all reports being published on the PCC's website. www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk.This is the way that we will build more trust and confidence in our police.
You told me that there was very little recognition for those individuals who day in and day out make an enormous difference to our communities. So I introduced PCC Pride Awards. Any member of the public can nominate any individual or group for this very public recognition and thanks. Over 100 silent stars have been given this award at Police HQ.
Commissioners Action Fund was also set up to give grants up to £5000 to groups who want to make a difference in their area particularly tackling the priority areas. £600,000 have been awarded to 200 community projects via the Police Community Trust to support creative and innovative ideas from the local community.