AVON and Somerset’s police crime and commissioner has announced that she will not be seeking re-election when her term ends in 2020.

Sue Mountstevens, who was elected to become the Independent police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Avon and Somerset in 2012, said she has ‘mixed emotions’ about her decision to not seek re-election.

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 that this is the right decision for the public, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), the Constabulary and the right decision for me.

“The last eight years have seen us work together to deal with a steady stream of challenges and opportunities. I feel fortunate to have been part of decisions and projects that have found solutions and pushed boundaries of innovation in our police force and within shared work with our partners in the criminal justice system, local authorities, health service, charities, community groups, businesses and local residents.

“Following my initial election as PCC in 2012, when the roles first came into effect, I was very honoured to be re-elected for a second term in 2016. This gave me the opportunity to galvanise the momentum of work on a vision that was victim focussed and protected the most vulnerable in our society as well as working better together to achieve more.

“I have always been acutely conscious that this opportunity was only afforded to me because the residents of Avon and Somerset allowed it, giving me more time to try to make an impact with our vision, and trusted in me to represent their interests in policing. I hope I have repaid their trust with the focus of our work and all of our achievements.”

During her time as PCC, 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.

She said she ‘feels strongly’ that the work the office of the PCC has done over the last eight years with its partners has been ‘a catalyst for enormously positive change’ but said two areas of work need the police’s focus - violence reduction units and reducing reoffending.

“I’m extremely proud to have represented the voice of victims, ensuring their voice is heard and that everything we do is looked at from the pivotal perspective of their journey through the criminal justice system,” Ms Mountstevens

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

“I take great pride that, even under the biting demand of swathing cuts to our budgets, the Chief Constable Andy Marsh and I were able to ensure that we kept our beat managers and PCSOs as a reassuring and preventative presence for people in all our communities. Many other forces across the country were not able to do the same.

“Going forward I believe there are two big areas of work that need our continued focus, drive and innovation.

“The first is the crucial role of violence reduction units. Over the last few months we have seen the ages of perpetrators and victims of stabbings and serious violence as children of 14 and 15-years-old. The families of those children, and whole communities, are affected forever by the impact of these devastating crimes.

“This has served to reinforce to me that early intervention is the only way forward. This will only be achieved successfully by working with partners and with young people to help them stay in mainstream education and make them feel part of the society to which they want to contribute and belong.

“The second is reducing reoffending in the South West by working with our criminal justice system partners locally to bring the right people to the table and share budgets to effect change and deliver fairer, better, results.

“Please be assured we will not be taking our foot off the pedal between now and the elections.

“I am still your PCC until May and I will be doing everything I can to push forward the good work you are all doing in the most crucial policing matters to help improve the lives of the people in Avon and Somerset.”