Sedgemoor Labour Calls for Police Review in Light of Sarah Everard Case

Thursday, 14 October 2021
Labour’s Alexia Bartlett calls for ‘independent Police review’

Appalled by the Sarah Everard case, Sedgemoor Labour has called for a review at Avon and Somerset Police, prompting an immediate response from new Commissioner, Mark Shelford. Speaking at the meeting of the full council last week, Alexia Bartlett, Labour District Councillor for Dunwear and Shadow Portfolio Holder for Communities and Wellbeing, raised the issue of a local standards review. “At a national level, the horrific kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard are stark reminders that the Police Service itself is also capable of the most appalling of crimes. In the light of Cressida Dick’s move to organise an independent review into the standards and culture at the Metropolitan Police, are there any plans by the new Police Commissioner to establish a similar and regular system of review of the standards and culture at Avon and Somerset?”

The Police are watching us, but who’s watching them?

PCC Responds

Councillor Bartlett’s question was then taken directly to the Police Crime Commissioner who quickly responded with a press release, published in the Sedgemoor Members Bulletin. Mr Shelford said “Sarah’s murder has rightly raised some difficult questions and discussions for all police forces and the Home Office’s inquiry will continue to do so. Sustained change is desperately needed and I firmly encourage Avon and Somerset Police to face these questions head on, reflect and set actions to ensure officers and staff are upholding the highest standards of policing for our communities.”

Need for Change

Although Mr Shelford failed to specify any clear system of review at a local level specifically within the police force itself, Councillor Bartlett’s question prompted the acknowledgement of the need for change within the justice system. Mr Shelford said, “Through chairing the Local Criminal Justice Board, I hope to help change the process of charging those who have committed acts of violence against women and girls and to bring about significant improvement to the success rate of court appearances.”