- Commissioner's Fund wins Police Service of the Year at a national public sector award ceremony
- It was a double celebration as the fund won a second award in the category for community engagement
- Both awards recognised the Commissioner's Fund support for more than 400 community projects across Gloucestershire which aim to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour
- Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl described it as “A proud achievement and fitting recognition for his staff and the hundreds of local volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make their communities better”.
It started as a small group of 10 memory clubs in the Cotswolds but within two years of securing support through the Commissioner’s Fund, ‘Keep Safe’s’ network had spread countywide.
‘Keep Safe’ now has well over 15,000 registered card holders with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, autism and dementia. In the event of feeling unsafe, they can look for premises bearing the ‘Keep Safe’ logo where they can present the card and be looked after until one of their personal contacts is notified and comes to collect them.
Today, the ‘Keep Safe’ logo can be seen in most of the county’s high streets where there are now around 1300 shops and businesses with specially trained staff.
‘Keep Safe’ Director, Kelly Hennessey-Ford, said: "Our aim was to build and broaden the scheme and with the help of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) we continue to do that. Since he pledged his support, we have been able to recruit many of the big chain stores, banks and high street names.
“They are all training their staff in adult awareness and their premises display the ‘Keep Safe’ logo so that people who are vulnerable know that inside is a place where the people will keep them safe from harm and abuse”.
‘Keep Safe’ is one of the projects supported by the Commissioner’s Fund which was named Police Service of the Year in a ceremony at Westminster last night (Tuesday).
The Police and Crime Commissioner’s innovative approach to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour also landed a bronze award for ‘providing initiatives that do most to engage local communities, creating greater resilience, better life chances and less dependency of public services’.
The iESE Awards are open to any public body in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and their partners in the voluntary, community and private sector and are sometimes called the public service Oscars! There were more than 600 nominations in the 10 categories which celebrate public sector innovation and transformation.
Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said, “When people ask what PCCs do, the Commissioner’s Fund is a shining example of what is possible. It is fitting recognition for the efforts of my staff and the hundreds of local volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make our communities better.
“Other PCCs across the country operate similar schemes but not on the same scale. In the six years since it was launched, we have been able to provide funding and a measure of security to more than 400 projects. By the time the current bidding round is complete that figure is likely to rise to 450.
“I have involved the voluntary sector in my police and crime plan from day one because local people know the problems in their own areas and are best placed to do something about them. The Commissioner’s Fund is evidence of that and I am grateful that so many people have responded to the challenge”.
Mr. Surl launched The Commissioner’s Fund following his inaugural election in November 2012 when he set aside 1% of the annual Policing budget , around £1m. Its purpose is to attract bids from community groups or projects that help deliver one or more of the six priorities within his Police and Crime Plan.
With other funding streams, also managed through the Commissioner’s Fund, the OPCC will have allocated around £12m to community based projects and voluntary sector organisations by April 2018.
For more information on the Commissioner’s Fund go to https://www.gloucestershire-pcc.gov.uk/