July 2023: News from A&SPCC Mark Shelford

I HOPE everyone has been enjoying time outside in the sunshine and stayed safe whilst doing so during our recent spell of glorious weather. 

Earlier this month, I put questions relating to knife crime and increased summer demand for police support to Chief Constable Sarah Crew at the latest Performance and Accountability Board (PAB), which livestreams every month on Facebook. 

I know that the police get exceptionally busy in the summer, but local people still rightfully expect a high level of service. 

During PAB I asked the Chief Constable how she will ensure that officers respond in a timely way and improve on what they did last year.

I also asked for an update on the week of awareness tackling knife crime – and how officers work with Violence Reduction Units to prevent knife crime.

This was particularly important following the tragic death of 16-year-old Mikey Roynon, from South Gloucestershire, at an incident in Bath on June 10.

Two teenage boys, one from Dorset and another from Wiltshire, have since been charged with murder and possessing an offensive weapon.

At the PAB we also discussed the amazing work of police volunteers, as well as rape and sexual assaults in hospitals.

If you would like to listen in to the conversation, you can view our Facebook live video that was recorded and has been posted to the OPCC Facebook page. 

I would like to take some time to highlight the 159 service, launched by Stop Scams UK. If you think someone is trying to trick you into handing over money or personal details, I urge you to stop, hang up and call 159. 

This is a short-code phone service that connects people safely to their bank’s fraud prevention service. 

This free phone service should be used when either you or someone you know may have provided an unknown person with your bank card or banking information over the phone, to report fraud potentially taking place.

I would like to mention the work of Crimestoppers and the South West: No Place for Drugs campaign.

Currently, Crimestoppers is appealing to the public to speak up and report cases of property being used as a grow house or farm to cultivate cannabis. 

Organised crime gangs are renting properties in both urban and rural parts of the country and setting up cannabis farms. This illegal activity often brings serious violence, victims of modern slavery, and increased risks of building fires and explosions. 

If you are a landlord, I implore you to become aware of the signs of cannabis cultivation: barricaded windows and doors, unsafe electricity wiring, and mould and water damage from hydroponics and irrigation systems. 

I urge you to learn the signs of cannabis cultivation, which can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

I would like to thank everyone for their continued contribution to keeping our communities safe and wish you all a safe and happy week.