police chief constable and PCC

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens has announced she will not seek re-election in May.

The former magistrate has served two terms in the role and was elected as an independent candidate in 2012 when PCCs were first introduced.

She said she was “extremely proud to have represented the voice of victims”.

Ms Mountstevens says stepping down is now “the right decision” and urged her successor to prioritise protecting young people from knife crime.

“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,” said Ms Mountstevens on Wednesday.

She said tackling the rise in knife crime involving young people should remain high on Avon & Somerset Police’s agenda.

“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.”

“This has served to reinforce to me that early intervention is the only way forward,” Ms Mountstevens said.

In 2014 the Police and Crime Panel ruled Ms Mountstevens had made a serious error of judgment when revealing the name of a whistleblower over complaints made about the then Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Nick Gargan.

Two years later she changed the force’s policy on keeping mentally ill people in police cells, condemning the practice as “Dickensian”.