March 2020: A message from Avon & Somerset PCC

March 24 2020

84p a month buys help for victims

LAST month, the Police and Crime Panel backed my decision to increase the policing part of the council tax by £10 a year – less than 84p a month – for the average band D household. The decision follows a public consultation with local people who said they would support an increase in the
precept.

 I was pleased that the Panel supported my decision but I am always conscious that any increase in household bills is felt by local people. I never take the decision to raise the policing part of the council tax lightly.

 It continues to be a priority of mine to put victims first and this increase means we can invest in an additional 75 police staff investigators who will help improve outcomes for victims. It has never been more important to me to ensure victims have a voice and feel encouraged to come forward and speak out.

 Concerns have quite rightly been growing across the country as we hear of more young people becoming involved in serious violence. The additional funding will also go towards maintaining the 15 additional PCSOs who are working closely with local schools. This work allows the police and partners to capitalise on opportunities to intervene early to prevent the harm that such violence causes to young individuals, families and communities. We need to make sure we are doing everything we can to stop young people becoming victims of serious violence and the Panel’s decision to back the increase will help this on-going work.

 Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) awareness day is taking place this month. CSE is a form of child abuse in which victims are manipulated or forced into taking part in sexual activity often in return for attention, affection, money, drugs, alcohol or accommodation.

 Victims of CSE are extremely vulnerable and many do not recognise that they are being exploited. We can never underestimate the damaging effects such a crime can have on victims.

 In order to tackle CSE for good, we need long term and consistent support to help children to survive and recover from their experiences. The police, educators, healthcare professionals and charities need to continue to work closely in partnership and be the ones to ask, ask again and keep asking so we can stop this horrendous crime and help victims rebuild their lives. The exploitation and abuse of children is happening now and together we need to stop it today.