‘Mixed emotions’ as Police and Crime Commissioner announces departure

Sue Mountstevens

Sue Mountstevens - Credit: Archant

Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has announced she will step down from the role in May.

Sue Mountstevens has confirmed she will not seek re-election after eight years in the job.

Ms Mountstevens was elected in 2012 as an Independent candidate and re-elected in 2016.

She said: "After two exciting, challenging and productive terms as an Independent PCC, I have decided I will not put myself forward for re-election in May.

"As one of very few Independent PCCs across the country, I vowed to keep party politics out of policing, and delivering this has been of the upmost importance during my two terms in office.

"I make this decision with mixed emotions but absolute conviction that, after eight years of working with you in the police, as well as our key partners to serve the people of Avon and Somerset, this is the right decision for the public and the Constabulary and the right decision for me."

During her tenure, Ms Mountstevens said she has faced 'many challenges', including battling austerity, enabling victims of crime to have their voices heard, tackling knife crime and helping people with mental health issues.

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She said she 'feels strongly' the work done over the past eight years has been 'a catalyst for enormously positive change'.

Ms Mountstevens worked closely with the area's Chief Constable Andy Marsh 'under the biting demand of swathing budget cuts' to keep 'beat managers and PCSOs as a reassuring and preventative presence for people in all our communities'.

Going forward, she said she wanted her successor to focus on violence-reduction units and lowering reoffending rates in the South West.

She added: "We are now heading into a momentous period of change for the police service, with central Government turning on the financial taps once again.

"I am proud to have been able to reflect what residents told me about the importance of community policing by ringfencing the funding for neighbourhood teams at a key moment during the years of austerity."

The election for a new PCC will be held on May 7.