Get to know our new neighbourhood Sergeant Tom Tooth. He has joined a team in diverse and vibrant area of Ashley Ward. You can find a letter from Sergeant Tom below and know him better!
As the summer finally draws to a close and autumn gathers momentum, I am reflecting on my first
four months in post as the Neighbourhood Sergeant for the Ashley Ward. Having worked in St Pauls
and Montpellier before, I was aware of the diversity and vibrancy of the communities within my new
area, and also had a head start on some of the deep-rooted issues that impact on residents. The past
four months have been a steep learning curve nonetheless, but also immensely rewarding. As the
heavy demand of the summer months finally starts to ease slightly, I am really looking forward to
getting to grips with some of the long standing problems that affect our neighbourhoods.
As you may have seen in my last column, I fully recognise the impact that drug dealing and drug use
have on our communities, and tackling the myriad issues that come from this is the top priority for
me and my team. We have been successful over the summer in arresting and remanding a number
of individuals involved in the supply of class A drugs, and continue to pursue other known offenders.
Residents from across the ward have been calling us and letting us know where the problems are,
and this allows us to target the areas with an increased presence and days of enforcement action, so
thank you for your support with this. We are also very aware of the worrying trend that sees young
people from our area engaged in street conflict and drug markets, often as a result of grooming by
older gang members. We are putting a great deal of time and resources into sourcing and funding
diversionary activities and interventions to try and steer young people away from the dangers of
such a lifestyle, and continue to work with community members to do this.
Another unrelated issue that has caused a lot of distress and concern across the ward in recent
months, especially in Montpellier, is that of graffiti and ‘tagging’. We fully understand the negative
impact that such inconsiderate and selfish behaviour can have on communities, causing extensive
damage and blighting neighbourhoods with unsightly slogans or signs. The problem is very difficult
to police effectively, as it’s often carried out under the cover of darkness and away from CCTV
coverage. However, we are always grateful to residents who bring it to our attention, and are
working with the council to come up with a joint strategy on how to better combat the issue and
support local residents affected by the issue.
Since joining the team I have had the great pleasure of being able to take part in a number of
community events across the ward. I wrote about St Pauls Carnival last time, and was back out at
another highly enjoyable street party on the 1 st of September. The ‘One Love’ party is an annual
event that brings together local businesses and community groups from across St Pauls, and we
were honoured to be asked to take part in the event and join the celebrations. I also led a team of
officers and PCSOs at a community football tournament organised by the Bristol Somali Youth Voice
recently at the St Pauls Community Sports Academy. We weren’t able to impress with our football
skills, losing all our matches by a considerable margin(!), but we thoroughly enjoyed the day, and
made some friends in the process. If you are putting on a community event in the ward, please
consider extending us an invite. We will always make the effort to attend and make the most of any
opportunities to engage with our communities.
Don’t forget, you can follow what the team are up to on Twitter @ASPAshley.
Until next time,
Sergeant Tom Tooth