Hon­our­ing heroes past and present

Bristol Post - - COMMENT -

THIS week I was de­lighted to host an awards cer­e­mony with the city’s Mayor to say thank you to all the peo­ple who made this year’s St Paul’s car­ni­val pos­si­ble.

It was fab­u­lous to re­mind our­selves once again of the colour, di­ver­sity, cre­ativ­ity and vi­brancy of this sum­mer’s event. It’s im­por­tant to say thank you to those in our city who step up and make things hap­pen. I was also keen to recog­nise the ef­forts of our emer­gency ser­vices, the men and women who helped en­sure the day ran safely.

Along with our coun­cil staff from li­cens­ing to high­ways, who all played an im­por­tant part in mak­ing sure the 50th an­niver­sary event went ahead. It was won­der­ful to share this recog­ni­tion with all the car­ni­val vol­un­teers and their fam­i­lies and loved ones.

I’ve be­gun a con­ver­sa­tion with lo­cal peo­ple about the polic­ing part of the coun­cil tax.

While the Chan­cel­lor’s bud­get never gave any­thing away I am hop­ing that Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sion­ers are once again given the flex­i­bil­ity to raise the polic­ing part of the coun­cil tax by £1 a month.

With last year’s £1 a month rise we were able to start an am­bi­tious pro­gramme of re­cruit­ment and com­mit to em­ploy­ing up to 300 po­lice of­fi­cers. We were also able to pro­tect neigh­bour­hood polic­ing, the po­lice of­fi­cers and Po­lice Com­mu­nity Sup­port Of­fi­cers (PCSOs) in your lo­cal area, all thanks to your sup­port for the rise.

The Chief Con­sta­ble and I have agreed that next year’s fo­cus will con­cen­trate on se­ri­ous vi­o­lence.

The threat from se­ri­ous and or­gan­ised crime has changed rapidly, in­creas­ing in both vol­ume and com­plex­ity and prey­ing on the most vul­ner­a­ble in so­ci­ety.

If we are able to in­crease the polic­ing part of the coun­cil tax by £1 a month next year and the Govern­ment grant for polic­ing stays the same and there are no ad­di­tional sur­prises we are com­mit­ted to a new fo­cus on bur­glary and drugs.

We must con­tinue to dis­man­tle the re­cruit­ment of vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple into ‘county lines’ drugs gangs. It’s clear that this leads to an in­crease in knife-crime and se­ri­ous vi­o­lence, in­clud­ing stab­bings and gang-re­lated dis­or­der and it must be tack­led and given the right re­sources.

I ab­so­lutely recog­nise that any in­crease in house­hold bills will be felt by res­i­dents and it’s not easy to keep ask­ing lo­cal peo­ple to con­tribute to the is­sues that we are fac­ing in polic­ing and as a so­ci­ety.

It’s re­ally im­por­tant that res­i­dents tell me what they would be pre­pared to pay through my web­sitewww.av on and som­er­set-p cc. gov.uk or by call­ing my of­fice 01278 646188. Th­ese are dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions and I need to be sure that I have heard from as many lo­cal peo­ple as pos­si­ble.

This Sun­day we will re­mem­ber and hon­our those who lost their lives in war to pro­tect our free­dom.

Mark­ing 100 years since the end of the First World War has re­minded us all again that not ev­ery­one gets the chance to grow old and a whole gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple lost their lives for our lib­erty.

I will join res­i­dents and civic lead­ers at Bris­tol’s Ceno­taph for this year’s two-minute si­lence. It is al­ways a priv­i­lege to at­tend th­ese im­por­tant events which al­low us to take the time to re­mem­ber and come to­gether to hon­our those who did so much for us.

St Paul’s Car­ni­val in Bris­tol ear­lier this year

This Sun­day we will re­mem­ber and hon­our those who lost their lives in war to pro­tect our free­dom

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