Our PCC Sue Mountstevens on understanding hate crime
LAST month, along with Avon Fire & Rescue, we opened our doors to your emergency services for our annual open day.
Thankfully, the weather was kind to us and local people enjoyed displays from Avon and Somerset’s Police Dog, Mounted, Firearms section as well as car cutting and search and rescue demonstrations from Avon Fire and Rescue. It was wonderful to see families getting an insight into all aspects of our emergency services and the people who work so hard to keep our communities safe.
This month, I will be working alongside Avon and Somerset Police and partners to increase local people’s understanding of hate crime to mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week (October 12-19). Hate crime can be defined as ‘any criminal offence that is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on personal characteristics’. Although hate crime is being spoken about more and more in the media and on social media, there is still confusion about the offence and when to report it and, as a result, underreporting continues to be an issue for victims of hate crime, particularly those related to religion, disability and sexual orientation.
Our homes and our streets should be a place free from discrimination, intolerance and prejudice and that’s why it’s important we are firm in our message that hate has no home in our communities. If you’ve been a victim of hate crime you are not alone and please remember that there are people who can help. Only by working together can we show that hate crime will not be tolerated and offenders will be brought to justice.
Finally, I wanted to let you know about the reduction in the number of serious injury collisions on our roads across the area of more than 21 per cent. In 2018, there were 393 incidents where people were killed or seriously injured in collisions on the road compared to 478 in 2014, making Avon and Somerset Police the 9th most improved force for reducing the number of people involved in such collisions.
Although one life lost in a collision is one too many, thanks to the dedication of the Roads Policing Unit, our roads are becoming increasingly safer for all road users. The Constabulary help organise and deliver voluntary speeding education courses to approximately 140,000 drivers each year and the unit is also supported by local people through the brilliant 131 Community Speedwatch schemes across the area.
Since 2014, I have also ensured that the unit has been better equipped to keep our roads safer by purchasing three enforcement motorcycles to support the nine speed enforcement vans as well as acquiring speed cameras from local authorities. We will continue to work with our local partners to keep our roads safe and educate local people on the dangers of driving unsafely.