In 2012, when the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) was first elected 17,968 violent and sexual offences were reported to Avon and Somerset Police. In 8,388 of those cases the culprits were identified, and formal action taken against them by the police (a detection rate of 47%). The formal action ranged from warnings to prosecution. By 2019, the last normal year before the Coronavirus pandemic, the number of violent and sexual offences reported had surged to 47,656 and yet the number of cases detected fell to 5,630 (a detection rate of just 12%).
This awful detection rate was due to strategic decisions to reduce the number of police officers dedicated to community policing, closing police stations and disbanding specialist teams of detectives such as those specialising in sexual assaults. Decisions made in part in response to the cuts to police budgets made by the Coalition government of the Tories and Lib Dems.
Contrary to promises made these strategic changes did not make the police more effective. Throughout the whole region the detection rate for crimes such as burglary, robbery, criminal damage and disorder are very low.
Quite clearly the welfare and safety of women was not a priority for the local decision makers or for government. Their promises to do so in future are worthless.
At the heart of those priorities will be the safety and welfare of all women.
Prepared by Philip Raymond Walsh, Election Agent, 9 Berkeley Road, Bristol, BS7 8HF
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