Sue Mountstevens has announced the appointment of John Smith to assist her as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
The appointment comes after a three-week recruitment process for the newly created post.
The purpose of the new role is to provide support to the PCC during the unexpected extension to her tenure, following the postponement of the election, due to the CoVid 19 pandemic.
John Smith, who is the former Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Avon and Somerset, will officially take up the post tomorrow (Friday April 24).
As Deputy PCC, John will support the PCC with her increased workload in scrutinising the police service, community reassurance and partnership working arising from the current national health emergency.
John went before the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Panel today for a confirmation hearing where they recommended the appointment with majority support.
The Panel is made up of independent members who support the PCC in her function of holding the police to account and also provide a role in scrutinising the PCC’s decisions.
The Panel is required to hold a confirmation hearing within three weeks of being notified of the Commissioner’s preferred candidate and produce a public report outlining their recommendations.
Sue said: “As most people know, I announced earlier this year that I would not be standing for the role of PCC again. Due to the unprecedented emergency that Covid19 has caused, and the cancellation of PCC elections, I now have to remain Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner until May 2021. The demand on my role, and the small team in my office, has been overwhelming in this completely unprecedented time. I am pleased that John Smith was the successful applicant following a rigorous three week recruitment process. He will join me and my team at the OPCC to support our work and ensure the best policing and criminal justice services are delivered for our communities despite the challenges of this crisis situation.
John has extensive knowledge and proven experience of working locally and regionally with the police service, criminal justice service and our wider partners.
“This will enable him to get stuck into the role straight away and will be an enormous advantage to Avon and Somerset Police and to me.
He proved the strongest candidate and demonstrated that he is best placed to provide the resilience, stability and continuity required in these challenging times. I acknowledge the concerns expressed by the panel, particularly those who were not in favour of the appointment of the Deputy PCC. We will look at how we can address some of those concerns and we look forward to working with the Police and Crime Panel going forward".
John will join the Commissioner’s office on a part time basis, working three days a week for an annual salary of £39,015. This is a fixed term post that will end when the next PCC elections are held.
John said: “I am excited to be supporting Sue in carrying out her role as PCC. I will work closely with the PCC team, the Chief Constable and his team and other key partners to make sure that local residents get the best possible police and crime services at this unprecedented time. I have been very impressed with the amazing work Avon and Somerset police have been doing in the last few weeks and very much look forward to working with them again.”
An outstanding Police Cadet, call handlers who have helped save lives and Thornbury Community Speedwatch Team were amongst those recognised at a PCC Pride Awards ceremony hosted by Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens.
During the ceremony, which took place on Tuesday 10th March at Police and Fire Headquarters in Portishead, the PCC recognised 20 worthy winners with PCC Pride Awards.
Winners and their guests were then invited to have lunch with the PCC and Chief Superintendent Will White before enjoying a tour of the communications centre where ‘999’ and ‘101’ calls are received.
PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “I’ve always considered hosting the PCC Pride Awards one of the best parts of my role as I get to say a big thank you to some truly extraordinary people in our community. I am delighted that over the past eight years so many people have chosen to nominate these ‘silent stars’, who go about their daily business with little or no recognition.
“These awards have highlighted just some of the very special individuals we have living and working amongst us and their exemplary efforts are hugely appreciated across Avon and Somerset. It’s important we pause and take the time to celebrate these inspirational and selfless individuals who work hard to help keep our communities safe and feeling safe.”
During the afternoon lunch the winners told the PCC what they thought of the day:
Call handler Helen Collier has been an exemplary member of the police control centre for 13 years. She was specifically recognised for her empathetic approach that contributed to saving a woman’s life. Helen said: “It’s nice to be recognised for the job that we do.”
Jo Sampson was recognised for her fantastic fundraising skills. She has been named a community champion as she goes above and beyond to support her local community. Jo said: “You do not realise what you actually do until someone says it out loud. You do not do it for the recognition but it’s lovely to be valued.”
Rachel Eveleigh was recognised for her selfless dedication in her role as Volunteer Cadet Leader for the Weston-super-Mare Police Cadets.
Annie Griffin was nominated for her hard work in the probation service, she goes above and beyond to support those released from Horfield Prison. Annie said: “I feel really touched that someone took the time to nominate me to give that recognition for my work. I have worked in probation services for 36 years and I’ve never felt as happy or more fulfilled than I do in my current role. I come in everyday and I actually feel like I make a difference and the people I work with really respond well to someone who cares.”
Jonathan, a call handler, was recognised for the incredible support he provided to a female who called 999 after someone crashed into her and her partner’s car earlier this year. Jonathan said: “I’m happy that I’ve received recognition but I think everyone in the communications centre should be recognised. Everyone works incredibly hard.”
DC Darren Taylor plays an important part in managing offenders across the force. He was recognised for the significant impact he has had on one of the men he has been working with. Darren said: “It was fantastic to see the diversity and breadth of experience at the ceremony, I am proud to serve Avon and Somerset Constabulary especially working in the IRiS team. As IRiS Offender Manger, I work with the highest risk offenders providing them with a consistent structure and encouragement to make positive changes to not only their lives but to their families and the communities that surround them. I am extremely honoured to receive the award as it is great to be recognised for the work that we do.”
PCSO Michael Benfield was recognised for his hard work in supporting local businesses in Worle who had issues with anti-social behaviour last year. Following his support the area now feels much calmer. Michael said: “It’s lovely to be recognised on an individual basis but it’s all a team effort. I joined this organisation many years ago as a handyman but applied to do this role 14 years ago and I have been working in the area since. Everyone works well together and everyone gets stuck in to problem solve and help people with their problems and that’s what I like about it.”
Police Cadet Katie Brueford is recognised for her dedication and commitment to the Cadet unit. Her first aid training equipped her to support one of her peers when they had a fit in school last year. Katie said: “I felt quite shocked that I was going to get an award at such a high profile event. The cadets are great leaders and I feel proud that they had chosen me to be nominated for this award.”
The Thornbury Community Speedwatch Team were recognised for their hard work and dedication in keeping the roads safe in Thornbury, they have a small team but make a significant positive impact. PCSO Sheryl Drewitt, who nominated the Speedwatch Team, said: “For such a small group of people managing a wide area, the Thornbury team do a fantastic job in keeping the roads safe. The reports are very impressive and have made a significant positive impact on the community.”
Call Handlers Emily Chadburn and Samantha Guest were recognised for their fast actions and professionalism when a woman called 999 when her car was stuck in a flood last year, their expertise ensured a life was saved. Emily and Samantha said: “It’s nice to be recognised as individuals but everyone in the communications centre does what we do and works hard.”
Kate Chapman was nominated for her commitment to a pilot scheme in the Police Control Room this year, following her hard work the force have taken on changes to improve ways of working. Kate said: “I’m very proud to be acknowledged for the work. My work is made much easier thanks to being part of an amazing team.”
Welcome to my first column for Word Gets Around. For those of you who are not familiar with my role, I’m Sue Mountstevens and I am your elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Avon and Somerset. My role includes being your voice in policing, being the bridge between local people and the police and ensuring the Chief Constable and his team are doing everything they can to keep you safe. My work also includes setting the police budget and helping improve the criminal justice system to support victims of crime.