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Home > Police Report Card > Avon and Somerset > Report Card

Report Card

Here we tell you how well your police force is performing when compared to similar forces around England and Wales. Your police force is Avon and Somerset Constabulary.


HMI Drusilla Sharpling: Overall assessment

Avon and Somerset Constabulary has cut violence, vehicle crime and criminal damage over the last three years and burglary over the last two, but the risk of being a victim of those crimes remains higher here than in peer forces. The force is a high to medium cost force compared to its peers, which employs slightly more police officers than its peer forces.

The force must meet the challenges posed by a large city such as Bristol as well as the expectations of rural communities. The city of Bath is a world heritage site and attracts around two million tourists a year. Bristol is a major port and the area has a number of tourist resorts. A network of strategic motorway routes connects the south west and Wales with the rest of the UK. Large events such as the Glastonbury music festival and Badminton Horse Trials occur annually in the force area.

The force has traditionally been strong in investigating homicides and tackling major crime. It is investing resources to improve the way rape and serious sexual assaults are handled. The force is a leading contributor in regional police collaboration and counter-terrorism work leading to a number of successful operations. A network of Safer Stronger Neighbourhood Teams (SSNTs), supported by police staff and volunteers has been created to help communities. A recent ‘Responsiveness Project’ aims to increase public satisfaction and confidence and improve the service the force provides to victims of crime.

The force has made strides in improving the way it deals with anti-social behaviour (ASB) and staff understand that this is a key priority; all victims are called back within 24 hours for follow up service as part of the force's gold response plan. In neighbourhoods the proportion of people who percieve high levels of ASB has remained stable and is in line with peer forces. The force is working to improve its ability to identify members of the public who repeatedly call about ASB. There are plans to help Neighbourhood Teams identify vulnerable complainants and repeat victims through better IT systems. Public confidence in the force is moving in the right direction.

The force has room for improvement, largely in Bristol where the challenges are most demanding. Knife crime is above average and although robberies have remained stable over the last year, they are also above the average of peer forces. The detection rate for burglary last year was 5% points behind the force target and the investment in rape and serious sexual offences has not yet seen improvements in the number of solved cases - but there are early signs that performance is getting better where specialist teams have been established.

Only 3.4 % of the 1.5 million population are from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups but this proportion rises to 11.2% of Bristol’s population. Most racial and religiously aggravated crime occurs in the Bristol area. BME satisfaction with police is lower than for white people.

To tackle these problems the force gets involved in intensive educational work to warn young people about the dangers of knives. Burglary teams have now been boosted. A ‘Hate Crime’ plan has been devised to improve minority community trust, encouraging greater reporting of crime and making investigation more effective. The force and Police Authority have invested in an Assistant Chief Constable with specific responsibility for Bristol and a dedicated robbery team has been established, working with partners to reduce and prevent robbery and increase the number of crimes solved.

Last year, the force was assessed as 'Fair' in its delivery of promises under the Policing Pledge.

HMIC's assessment of performance and prospect of improvement

HMIC inspects how forces perform in a range of activities and against a number of agreed standards. HMIC's assessment of performance for each of these activities is shown below.

HMIC also makes a professional assessment of whether the force's performance is likely to improve or decline in the future, for some indicators.


Local crime and policing


Neighbourhood policing

meeting standardblank

Neighbourhood presence


Reducing crime


Solving crimes


Protection from serious harm


Investigating major crime

meeting standardblank

Reducing road death and injury


Solving serious sexual offences


Suppressing gun crime


Suppressing knife crime


Confidence and satisfaction


Comparative satisfaction of BME community


Meeting the Pledge Standards


Perceptions of anti-social behaviour


Public confidence: all agencies


Public confidence: police


Satisfaction with service delivery


Value for money: staffing and costs


Cost of policing


Cost per household


Number of police officers and PCSOs


Proportion of policing cost met from council tax


The above grades were published on 13 March 2010. HMIC proposes to update these grades annually.