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.”
Somerset West & Taunton Council is consulting on a proposed new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to allow it to deal more effectively with anti-social behaviour.
A PSPO is a power under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, that allows a council to impose restrictions in particular areas to tackle nuisance or problem behaviour.
SWT is reviewing its policy in a bid to make it easier to identify and address issues in Taunton and surrounding open spaces as part of its Streetwise initiative
to ensure a joined up approach to anti-social behaviour.
The revised Public Space Protection Orders will allow the Council to tackle a broader range of anti-social behaviour in conjunction with partners, particularly the Police.
The proposed conditions would set the boundaries of what can be regarded as unacceptable behaviour, and the areas it covers which means the Council and Police can enforce measures decisively and quickly.
The new Orders could result in fixed penalty notices of £100 or fines of up to £1,000 if convicted of breaching the PSPO in court. They are not designed to make money for the Council, however, any money received in penalties is ring-fenced for Streetwise work.
Cllr Chris Booth, Executive Member for Community, said: “PSPOs are designed to ensure the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces, safe from anti-social behaviour.
We’ve been working with partners including the Police, to identify issues that could have a detrimental impact on people who live, work or visit the town, many of which are linked to alcohol and drug dependency.
Our aim is always to make an early intervention, and to take the opportunity to engage and improve behaviour, but no-one should have to endure behaviour that has a negative impact on them, their environment or the community in which they live or work.
The existing PSPO has been ineffective as it was unfortunately often unenforceable. We are now restarting this process and want public feedback to be a key part of helping to improve our district through enforceable rules.
We hope people will engage with the consultation process to revise the PSPO powers and help to make our county town and associated open spaces safe and welcoming.”
The consultation runs for six weeks from today (2 March) and will give members of the public a chance to put forward comments and suggestions including other locations.
The full consultation document is available to view on our website www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/pspo
Paper copies are also available at Deane House, Taunton, and West Somerset House, Williton.
Responses can be made using the online consultation portal https://yoursay.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/or by returning the paper questionnaire by freepost.
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.