October 2020: A message from Avon & Somerset PCC

September 29 2020

AS we leave the summer behind us, I’ve been reflecting on the challenges we have all faced over the last few months. I have been continually impressed by the commitment and determination of individuals, families and communities who have made personal sacrifices to help reduce the spread of the virus.

2020 has undeniably been a difficult year for everyone and I expect we will continue to see regulations and rules change throughout autumn and winter. The Chief Constable Andy Marsh and I will continue to provide updates and clarification in regards to policing coronavirus in our Facebook Live sessions.

Last month, we saw new laws coming into force banning social gatherings of more than six people across England. As I’m sure we are all aware by now, these new regulations apply to all ages, to gatherings indoors and outdoors, in private homes, public outdoor spaces and venues such as pubs and restaurants.

There are some legal exemptions to the six-person rule, including when households or support bubbles are larger than six, as well as gatherings for work or education purposes, weddings and funerals, to name a few.

The increase in cases is a stark reminder that we cannot be complacent; the virus has not disappeared. We need to continue to be cautious, act with common sense and follow the Government’s regulations, whether we like the rules or not.

I have been impressed by how officers have dealt with policing the pandemic, especially as ‘business has returned to normal’ in recent months and demand has increased. I fully support their approach to engage, explain, encourage and, if necessary, enforce the regulations as a last resort.

I am pleased this approach has been successful, as it has never been more important to ensure we are supporting and being supported by local people and communities. We need to work together to get through this. We must take personal responsibility to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from the virus. I urge you all to remember that by following the regulations, you are making a difference.

Finally, I recently announced I had allocated an additional £200,000 to support local charities, voluntary organisations and community groups to help deal with the consequences of the coronavirus. Such initiatives across Avon and Somerset are encouraged to apply for grants of up to £5,000. The next and final deadline for the Commissioner’s Community Action Fund (CCAF) is November 30.

I want you to apply for the funding so we can support you and your innovative projects; by working together we can continue to make improvements and drive the change needed to help our communities. The application is a really straightforward process and we want to say yes to as many local initiatives as possible.

For more information, please visit www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk/working-for-you/police-community-trust/