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The Somerset Guardian, 8th May 2024

Somerset was one of the last counties to instal a police force following Sir Robert Peel’s establishment of the Metropolitan Police.
Yet today, the Avon and Somerset Constabulary, as with forces around the country, works tirelessly to protect communities, safeguarding people from anti-social behaviour and helping to bring those who have committed crimes to justice.
Since November 2012, police forces have been overseen by elected Police Crime Commissioners (PPCs). They are responsible for the totality of policing whilst aiming to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their police force area.
In the recent elections, the incumbent PCC for Avon and Somerset, Mark Shelford, lost his position to the Labour candidate, Clare Moody. Although I am naturally sympathetic towards Mr. Shelford as a Conservative, I can objectively say that he excelled in this role during his tenure and am sorry to see him go, irrespective of his political affiliation. 
After thirty-two years of public service as an Army officer, Mr. Shelford had the ideal qualifications to be elected as PPC. Following his final posting to the United States to work with NATO, he returned to Bath as a councillor and then to serve as PCC.

During his time in office, Mr. Shelford appointed a new Chief Constable who has dramatically changed the force; ensured that 1500 new officers were trained to deliver an increase of over 500 extra officers that were deployed to neighbourhoods and CID. New police stations were opened in Bath and Minehead and the force is now the best performing constabulary in England for disrupting illegal drug activity.

Mr. Shelford also implemented a dedicated Rural Crime team to tackle illegal encampments, livestock and machinery theft; was instrumental in 300 per cent more rape charges reaching the courts and contributed to a significant reduction of re-offending by launching the award-winning Prisoners Building Homes scheme.

I, like many, pay tribute to the excellent work carried out by Mr. Shelford. I wish Clare Moody every success in maintaining his high standard as, although the election is fought on party lines, the role is fundamentally apolitical hence my desire to see her succeed.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance:

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