This morning we held our usual ‘Hot Coffee – Hot Topic’ session in city hall. The sessions are an opportunity for staff to meet with me, members of the Cabinet and senior management to share ideas on how we tackle some of the challenges facing Bristol.
Today we had a great guest speaker in Sue Mountstevens – our Police and Crime Commissioner – who presented on the opportunities and challenges of policing in Bristol. We discussed mental health and early intervention as key to achieving better outcomes for people, as well as her Policing Plan which develops a further focus on the needs of victims.
We also talked about the ‘Tipping point’ report released this week which summarises the threats, risks and consequences facing the organisation at a time of diminishing financial resource as well as increasingly complex criminality and operational demand.
It sets out that since 2010 the force has 655 fewer police officers and has made savings of £65m. It has a further £17m to save by 2021/22.
The report states that these are perilous times for policing in Avon and Somerset.
While HMIC has judged Avon and Somerset constabulary to be ‘outstanding’ at understanding demand and delivering efficiencies, achieving additional substantive gains through these channels have become progressively harder.
The police want the risk to be understood by all stakeholders at all levels, local and national, and choices should be made in full knowledge of the consequences.
It is my determination to support Sue and the officers of the service in protecting the people of Bristol. Austerity is a challenge the whole public sector is facing and this report captures the need for fairer funding for these essential services.