I was very honoured to attend the Yeovil Chamber of Commerce meeting with Sue Mountstevens the Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner and Sharon Baker the Chief Inspector for Yeovil. Sue explained how the charge on our council tax bills has risen and this has directly paid for an extra 100 police officers. She is adamant that the police are to be part of our community and doesn’t want them to be sitting in offices when they could be visible.
To this extent, our council tax money has been spent on providing upgraded equipment such as phones and laptops so that your officer can sit in a public space such as a coffee shop to complete their admin, rather than driving back to the station. This means they are not wasting time and petrol travelling and are visible in the community. She encourages us all to go and chat and get to know our local police constables and PCSO’s – they are there to support us and be a part of the local community.
Sue has also employed mental health nurses with access to medical records to support phone calls to the 101 non-emergency number so people in distress can be supported by a network of family, medication and mental health support services. In turn this should reduce the numbers of mentally ill people being put into cells and through the criminal justice system when they need medical support.
The Avon and Somerset Constabulary 4 priorities are :
1) To protect the most vulnerable from harm,
2) Strengthen and improve local policing teams,
3) To ensure Avon and Somerset Constabulary have the right people, equipment and culture,
4) To work together effectively with other police forces and partner agencies to provide better services to local people.
Our Village, Carers Community Agents all have great relationships with and work closely with our local police teams.
Interestingly she also spoke about the need for volunteers. She reinforced the fact that the police are the citizens and the citizens are the police. We need to work as a team to reduce crime. Sharon Baker, our Chief Inspector for Yeovil would love to see growth in volunteers in:
- An increase in Specials Police (15 hours a month) who will be trained alongside other police officers.
- More people shadowing a Police Officer. She stated that you are able to join the police for a shift and experience first-hand what the police do. Just fill out the online form.
- You could join as a speed watch volunteer or
- Join the independent residents panel to monitor people’s experience of the police; discussing the use of tasers and stop and search techniques or visit custody units to take views from detainees on their experience.
One thing she stated very clearly is that Yeovil, and Somerset in general, are low crime areas and that they are working hard to keep it that way with investment into preventative long term solutions to crime.
It was a fascinating meeting and I hope we can help facilitate what I have learnt into the community.
Did you know our latest newsletter is out now for the Somerset Carers? Download it here: https://issuu.com/communitycouncilforsomerset/docs/newsletter_issue_2_final