May 2023: News from Avon & Somerset police Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford

AS we get closer to summer, many people are looking forward to attending local and national sporting, comedy and music events.

Unfortunately, unscrupulous ticket sellers prey on people’s excitement for such shows for their own financial gain.

I urge local people to be vigilant when buying tickets, as new national figures reveal over £6.7 million was lost to ticket fraud in 2022.

In the same year, Action Fraud received over 7,088 reports of ticket fraud, with 138 coming from Avon and Somerset residents.

As part of its latest awareness campaign, Action Fraud is working with the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) to promote the safe and secure purchasing of tickets to events, and advises the public to follow the appropriate preventative measures.

These include only buying from official promoters and ticket agents, being wary of messages offering unbelievably good deals and avoiding paying for tickets by bank transfers. Remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

We have just marked the first anniversary of an independent report, Identifying Disproportionality in Avon and Somerset Criminal Justice System (CJS).

Independent chair Desmond Brown conducted a two-year deep dive review into local CJS partner agencies to investigate racial disproportionality.

Lots of work is being done to set up a programme under the Local Criminal Justice Board, a group of senior leaders from all the partner agencies of which I am chair.

The chief constable is leading the steering committee to deliver the recommendations.

It’s vital to work in partnership and implement real and lasting change, so that communities feel a difference in how they are treated when they encounter the CJS, whether as a victim, a witness, or a perpetrator.

I will keep you updated on the progress of this important work that aims to build trust, confidence, and legitimacy in policing and the wider system, particularly in communities impacted by race inequality, where trust and confidence is low.

Earlier this year I, along with my counterparts in Dorset, Devon & Cornwall, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, penned a letter to Therese Coffey – the then Environment Secretary – calling for a new way to tackle the growing menace of fly-tipping.

The cost of fly-tipping on private land is estimated to be up to £150m a year, and the cost of clearance of fly-tipping for local authorities in England is nearly £50m.

It is time to make criminals pay for fly-tipping, not local people.

I am delighted that Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Deane, supports the five Southwest PCCs coming together to fight the scourge of fly-tipping. This is a step in the right direction.

This crime blights our rural landscape and causes problems for farmers and the rural economy. I’m committed to working with partner agencies to find new ways to tackle this problem.