September 2023: News from A&SPCC Mark Shelford

I HAVE launched a campaign called Together We Can… to raise awareness of the work being done by my office to improve, change and challenge policing.

Together We Can… is a call to action for residents to get involved in policing to ensure our communities are safe.

The campaign is also an opportunity to highlight how the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) continues to work for local people.

My Police and Crime Plan, launched in 2021, includes four priorities – preventing and fighting crime; engaging and supporting communities and victims; leading the police to be efficient and effective; and increasing confidence in the criminal justice system.

Many people are not aware of the work that the OPCC carries out and, crucially, when they can turn to us for support to address issues or concerns they have with policing.

We work hard to tackle so many varied issues that may affect all our lives at some point – from violence against women and girls and racial disproportionality to fraud and anti-social behaviour.     

My job is to hold Avon and Somerset Police’s chief constable to account and to keep striving for policing that serves everyone equally, so we all feel safe and supported in everyday life.

For more information about Together We Can… and my police and crime priorities visit the OPCC website,

I would also like to take the opportunity to highlight the recently-opened preventing victims fund. The fund is an opportunity for any Avon and Somerset-based group that already provides services to victims of crime to apply for a grant of up to £20,000.

The Preventing Victims Fund is being delivered in partnership between the OPCC, Somerset Community Foundation and the Quartet Community Foundation.

The fund aims to complement groups providing services to victims of crime, enabling them to explore different approaches that could prevent people from becoming victims in the first place. This prevention focus is one of the Police and Crime Plan key priorities.

Finally, I urge local people to remain vigilant over an emerging scam involving fake emails purporting to be from mortgage lenders.

It has come to my attention that Action Fraud received 538 reports in just a two-week period relating to these emails that claim to offer limited-time deals to low-rate mortgages.

Heartless criminals are taking advantage of people’s concerns relating to mortgages to lure them into phishing scams. The websites set up by criminals disguise themselves as a trustworthy source in order to steal personal and financial data for their own gain.

We need to let as many people know that such scams are circulating, to ensure we prevent people from falling victim.

Remember if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you have doubts about an email or message, contact the organisation directly before sharing any personal or financial information. Do not use the numbers or addresses in the email – use the details from their official website.