Parish councillors in Stoke Gifford have raised concerns over policing levels after it emerged that the local beat team currently has just one member of staff on active duty.
A meeting of the Community Engagement Forum in March was told by Chief Inspector Mark Evans that beat manager PC Julie Rudyard was currently the sole officer covering Stoke Gifford because one of the two PCSOs assigned to the beat was on maternity leave and the other was unavailable.
The matter surfaced again at a parish council meeting in April, when Cllr Keith Cranney raised concerns about “the lack of police resources in the Stoke Gifford police beat team”. The parish clerk was requested to write to the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Avon and Somerset, Sue Mountstevens, “about the force’s future commitment to neighbourhood policing in the local area”.
In his letter to the PCC, the clerk wrote:
“There have been numerous staffing changes over a number of years, leading to instability amongst the neighbourhood team, with councillors questioning the commitment to neighbourhood policing in the immediate area.”
“At the time of writing we are grateful for the support offered by our beat manager, Julie Rudyard, who is seen by the council as an excellent police officer for the local community.”
“I would be grateful for the opportunity to discuss these concerns in more detail.”
Response from Sue Mountstevens, Police and Crime Commissioner
Thank you for your email raising concerns regarding police staffing levels in the Stoke Gifford area.
As you know, following consultation I raised the council tax precept for policing by £1 a month last year for an average house. This has allowed us to focus significant resources on recruitment – we are planning to recruit an extra 300 police officers this year and also to ensure that PCSO numbers are maintained at the full budgeted level.
In terms of the specific position in Stoke Gifford, I have taken the action of requesting a briefing from Sergeant Stephen Ives, of the Neighbourhood Policing Team. He has confirmed that there have been absences due to long-term sickness, but he has assured me that he does not believe that the Beat has suffered disproportionately as a result because his own team at Patchway has covered any issues that have arisen.
Going forward, it is expected that there will be a return to full staffing levels and there are no plans to reduce the policing team numbers dedicated to the Stoke Gifford and Little Stoke beat areas.
If the parish council have any specific issues they wish to raise with the Neighbourhood Policing Team then please do not hesitate to contact Sergeant Ives direct.
This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal news magazine (on page 3). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.