December 2023: News from A&SPCC Mark Shelford

AS we approach the festive season, I would like to warn local people to take extra care when shopping online. 

During the Black Friday and holiday sale events last year, almost £10 million was lost to criminals.

One common tactic used to defraud victims is the use of fake websites that are purporting to be reputable companies.

These websites are created to look identical to the real website they are imitating and will advertise items but at a much cheaper price than retail price to entice victims.

In reality, these websites are fake and the victim will never receive the item they have paid for.

To protect yourself from fraud and cyber crime I advise that the public follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign:

Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

Protect: If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud, online at or by calling 0300 123 2040.

We recently marked Respect for Shopworkers Week.

The purpose of the week is to support retail workers and ensure the general public understands the key message that abuse is not part of the job.

I am keen to meet with shop owners and work together to help reduce retail crime in Avon and Somerset and support workers in the sector. 

I have convened a new national group, the E-Scooter Safety Forum, to discuss issues around micro mobility. The first meeting was held earlier this month, and I look forward to updating you with my progress on this. 

The third week of November was the annual Road Safety Week. As road safety is one of the areas of focus in Priority One of my Police and Crime Plan, I’m very supportive of the work Avon and Somerset Police do in helping to reduce collisions and traffic accidents.

I am a member of my local Community Speedwatch group and regularly attend meet-ups. Community Speedwatch is a national initiative where proactive members of local communities join with the support and supervision of their local police to record details of speeding vehicles using approved detection devices. Together we can help reduce speeding.

Unfortunately, so far in 2023 we have had 47 road deaths across Avon and Somerset. As a community we must commit to tackling the ‘Fatal Five’ actions – not wearing a seatbelt, using a phone, not paying attention, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and speeding.