SUE Mountstevens has pledged to deliver a service which is fair for taxpayers after her election as Avon and Somerset’s first police and crime commissioner.
The former magistrate and Independent candidate beat closest rival and Conservative Ken Maddock by over 60,000 votes at the end of a mostly snubbed election which saw just 19.58% of eligible votes cast.
Her manifesto promises to combat anti-social behaviour, burglary and violence against women and girls as priorities, but the former businesswoman, who helped run her family-owned chain of bakeries for over 20 years, has also pledged to meet communities face to face and “listen to the quiet voices”.
“I want all residents to feel safe and be safe, whether they live in Minehead, Taunton or Bristol,” said Ms Mountstevens, 57, who is married and lives in Pill, North Somerset.
Her four-year PCC role, which will give her the power to hire and fire the chief constable, began yesterday (November 21) after she swore an oath of impartiality at Avon & Somerset police HQ.
Her £85,000 salary will require her to make tough calls on whether to raise the police share of the council tax bill or make further cuts to balance the budget, but she will not be involved in operational decisions.
In the build-up to the election she held a hustings rally in Taunton, and took part in a number of Partnerships and Communities Together (PACT) meetings at rural spots across the county.
Tomorrow (November 23), she will visit Taunton and Bridgwater as part of her pledge to “break down” local issues across all six force districts, which will form her Crime Plan to identify what concerns affect different areas.
“It’s the neighbouring policing teams who know how to police and protect their areas, and they’re the ones I’ll be supporting,” said Ms Mountstevens, adding that she will be visiting communities across the force patch at least one day a week from now on.
“It’s important for me to get out there because I want to listen to the quiet voices – the people who wouldn’t normally write or ring in.”
Asked how she will ensure that police resources are not just centred on Bristol, she said: “You have to look at population sizes between areas and what crime figures show, but I will work hard to ensure a fair service for the taxpayers of Somerset.”
To get in touch with Ms Mountstevens, call her office on 01275-816378.