New help for communities fighting crime

May 01 2022
New help for communities fighting crime

Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford writes for the Voice

I AM delighted to tell you that a brand new fund has been launched in partnership between my office, Somerset Community Foundation and Quartet Community Foundation.

The Commissioner’s Crime Prevention Fund will support community projects and activities across Avon and Somerset that help reduce crime and antisocial behaviour.

Local residents know their neighbourhoods better than anyone and we want to help residents prevent crime in their area. Community groups and charities can now apply for grants of between £1,000 to £5,000 from the fund to support projects that help create safer communities.

So, if you have an idea, initiative or project that would benefit local communities including creating safer streets and green spaces, raising awareness among young people and the promotion of restorative justice, please do apply. Further information can be found on my website.

Last month, I was lucky enough to hold a thank you reception for local people that volunteer to support the work of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Volunteers from the Independent Residents Panel, Independent Scrutiny of Police Powers Panel, Out of Disposals Panel as well as Independent Custody visitors attended.

It was a long-overdue opportunity to thank the volunteers directly for the critical role that they all play in improving accountability and public confidence in policing. The volunteers’ adaptability and willingness to provide an excellent service despite challenges relating to the pandemic has not gone unnoticed.

I look forward to continuing to work with our volunteers as they support me in ensuring Avon and Somerset Police is efficient, effective and legitimate. You can find out more about volunteering opportunities on my website.

Finally, I want to make local people and businesses aware of how to spot the signs of payment diversion fraud (PDF). PDF affects businesses and customers where electronic financial transactions are taking place.

Criminals will contact businesses or customers via email, usually claiming to be from a company that the business or customer has been dealing with. They will request a payment to be made or inform the recipient of a change of bank account details.

Criminals are experts at impersonating people and will often create fake email addresses that are very similar to genuine business or customer addresses, as well as sending over fake invoices to make it more believable. All of this leads to payments from businesses or customers directly into bank accounts controlled by criminals.

These criminals know how to apply pressure, hoping you will let your guard down. Instead, take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money and remember it is okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests for your financial or personal details.

Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for scam and, most importantly, do not feel ashamed or embarrassed.