June 2023: News from MP Chris Skidmore

AS the local MP, I want local people to feel safe and be safe. In Westminster I have led and taken part in debates to push for action and locally around the constituency I have held joint surgeries with our Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford to enable residents to express their concerns and highlight their local policing priorities. 

The Prime Minister promised to cut crime, crack down on anti-social behaviour, and make our streets safer – and at the heart of that pledge is recruiting 20,000 additional police officers across the country. I am therefore delighted that he confirmed that this manifesto commitment has now been met. 

Reaching this target means that in our Avon and Somerset Constabulary area there are over 500 more police officers to crack down on crime, relentlessly pursue criminals, and protect victims.  

Furthermore, the police are also being given greater powers to deal with criminals and bring perpetrators to justice, including through the government’s new Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan. New measures include: 

Banning nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” to send a clear message to intimidating gangs that hang around high streets and parks and litter them with empty cannisters that they will not get away with this behaviour. The drug is now the third most used among 16 to 24 year olds in England; 

Increasing the punishment for those who graffiti, litter or fly tip with fines of up to £500 and £1,000. This will complement South Gloucestershire Council’s existing zero-tolerance approach on these issues; 

Giving landlords and housing associations more powers to evict unruly tenants who ruin neighbour’s lives through persistent noise or by being drunk and disorderly; 

Giving police new powers to crackdown on illegal drug use, often a catalyst for other crimes, including expanding powers for drug testing on arrest so more suspected criminals can be tested, and more drugs tested for. 

There will also be some pilot areas around the country where offenders will be made to wear high-vis vests or jumpsuits and work under supervision to pick up litter, remove graffiti and wash police cars as punishment for their actions. I look forward to the lessons learned from these pilots informing a wider roll-out of new initiatives to help people be and feel even safer locally.