January 2024: News from A&SPCC Mark Shelford

I HOPE you have been having a wonderful festive period.

I would like to start the New Year by thanking all the officers and emergency services staff who have worked tirelessly to keep our communities safe over this time. 

The Police Funding Survey is now live online.

I encourage every resident to give their thoughts on my proposal to increase the policing part of the council tax, known as the precept, by £10 a year (that’s the equivalent of 83p per month) for the average Band D household. The survey will close on January 22.

Local policing is funded by a combination of people’s council tax (the precept), Home Office funding, and other grants. 

The precept makes up 41% of police funding and I, as your PCC, am responsible for setting the amount of money residents contribute to local policing through the precept.

You can access the link to the precept survey on the OPCC website, www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk. 

Last month, my office launched a new volunteer recruitment campaign, looking for members of the public from all backgrounds and walks of life to visit people in one of three custody centres we have in Avon and Somerset, in Keynsham, Patchway and Bridgwater.  

These volunteer roles are called independent custody visitors, and they perform a vital role in ensuring people who are detained in custody following arrest are aware of their rights and are receiving what they are entitled to.  

If you can spare two hours per month, at a time to suit you, to partner with another custody volunteer and undertake a visit, please apply before 18 January.

No experience is necessary, just a commitment to seeing fair, efficient and effective policing in our communities.

Visit our website and go to the ‘Get Involved’ section to sign up. 

I urge people to be extra careful when shopping online at any time, but particularly this time of year, as we see online shopping increase in the annual January sales. Many people are looking for bargains after the Christmas period and I warn shoppers: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.  

To protect yourself from fraud and cyber crime, I advise everyone to follow 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 actionfraud.police.uk, or by calling 0300 123 2040.