Labour’s candidate for police and crime commissioner in Avon and Somerset has made five promises about what he’ll do if he’s elected on May 5th. Kerry Barker says action is needed to reverse the harm caused to local policing under the current commissioner.
Kerry’s pledges are:
- More officers on the beat – in rural communities, towns and the inner-city
- Officers who know their communities
- Better technology – to allow police officers to work effectively
- Body cameras for all police officers
- The reinstatement of specialist teams to deal with child abuse, sex offences and domestic violence
Kerry is an experienced criminal barrister who prosecutes cases involving child abuse, sexual offences, and ill treatment of vulnerable adults. In the course of that work he has seen the devastating effects of government cuts to police forces and the harm caused to local policing under the watch of the current commissioner, Sue Mountstevens.
Police force Morale low
Kerry said:“In putting my name forward for this election I was not driven by party political ideology but genuine distress and concern about the way that local policing was going. In the past four years under the current commissioner we have had four chief constables. That instability – all brought about by her decisions – has caused morale in the Avon and Somerset police force to fall to its lowest ever level.
“Violent crime has risen by 32% in the past year alone. Sexual crime has gone up by a further 21% and domestic abuse by 20%.The Inspector of Constabulary has graded the local force as “Requires Improvement” – the second lowest grading that could have been stated.
Consequences of under-funding
“The quality of investigations of crimes affecting vulnerable people was not good enough.Avon and Somerset used to have a fine reputation for dealing with these most difficult areas of criminal abuse. But the specialist teams of detectives and officers dealing with those crimes have all been scrapped under the current Commissioner
“In dealing with the crimes that come to me to prosecute I see the consequences of under-funding with good officers with workloads that are just too heavy to manage, being asked to deal with matters without the necessary expertise and without much needed technical resources.
“It all leads me to ask “what has our Police and Crime Commissioner been doing for the past four years?” If elected, I will bring policing back to the people.
Contact the Kerry Barker campaign here: http://www.kerrybarker.org/contact-us/
On Thursday 28th April there will be a special Hustings event at Bridgwater YMCA featuring the candidates. It starts at 6pm. The event is organised by Sedgemoor FM radio.