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Wednesday 28 February 2018, 10:20 AM
  • Commissioner's Fund nominated for Police Service of the Year award
  • Also nominated in a special category for community engagement 
  • Commissioner's Fund now supports more than 400 projects across Gloucestershire which aim to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl says nominations are recognition for volunteers who dedicate themselves to making their communities better

At the age of 15, Jack was at a crossroads. Already ‘known’ to the police, a life of more serious crime beckoned. But then came ‘A Fresh Start’.

‘A Fresh Start’ is the name of a 10-week course run by a social enterprise near Stroud, which provides controlled work and training experience for young offenders, and those at risk of offending.

Two years on, Jack has regular work at the Stroud Furniture Bank at Brimscombe near Stroud, and can see a much more positive future. Today, he is one of many.


Stroud Furniture Bank

Out of the most recent batch of 10, referred in the last year by local Youth Support and Offending Services to the Grace Network which operates the scheme, 3 are now in work, 1 is looking for work where previously he was disengaged and 2 have just begun the programme. This follows on from 9 others who moved through earlier versions of the project before the OPCC came on board.

 Commissioner's Fund ambassador Sara, Countess Bathurst, meets Grace Network staff at Stroud Furniture Bank

A Fresh Start’ is one of 410 projects throughout Gloucestershire currently supported by the Commissioner’s Fund. It is just one example of why the Police and Crime Commissioner’s innovative approach to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour has been short-listed for two national public service transformation awards.

‘Creating Community Capacity’ recognizes initiatives that do most to engage local communities, creating greater resilience, better life chances and less dependency of public services. The ‘Police Service of the Year’ goes to a Police Service deemed ‘outstanding in transforming the delivery of its services’. 


iESE, the Public Sector Transformation Partner, will announce the winners at a ceremony in Westminster next week (Tuesday 6 March).

Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said, “Being short-listed for these prestigious awards is very exciting but more importantly, it is recognition for the great work done by my office and the many, many volunteers who are dedicated to making their communities better.

“I have always said that local people know their own areas best and often have the best solutions to problems they face on a day to day basis. Whether we win or not, it’s gratifying to be vindicated by such a well-respected body as iESE”

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. 


Outward Bound was among the first projects to receive a grant from the Commissioner's Fund

Other PCCs across the country operate similar schemes but not on the same scale. To date the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has funded over 410 projects, a figure likely to rise to 450 once the current bidding round is complete.

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.

Pathfinder U-17 Car Club training courses for novice drivers and Street Pastors  in the night time economy are also supported by the Commissioner's Fund

Police and Crime Plan Priorities:

  • Accessibility and Accountability – this is about ensuring that the police are easily accessible and accountable for their actions. Examples include response to 101 non-emergency calls and keeping victims of crime updated on any progress.
  • Older but not overlooked – this is about considering the needs of older people in our communities and those that are vulnerable through disability or who have other needs. Very often these people have a high perception of the fear of crime and are very often the subject of hate crime. Projects supported include working with AGE UK to produce guidance on a number of activities where older people are likely to be targeted. Overlooked related projects include the creation of a County Hate Crime Group and Strategy to encourage those subject to Hate Crime to report and be taken seriously.
  • Young people becoming adults – this is about enabling young people to become adults and not entering the criminal justice system, which can have considerable impact on their future lives. Projects include funding many Youth Clubs, Sea Cadets and other projects, such as the Aston Project which identify young people on the periphery of crime and conduct activity with them to prevent them entering the Criminal Justice System. Over 50% of our funding is allocated to this priority.
  • Safe Days and Nights – this is about enabling members of our community to feel safe, whether they are out in the day or enjoying the night time economy. Projects supported include Street Pastors, a group of volunteers who patrol the streets in our larger towns on a Friday and Saturday night, ensuring that people who have had a good evening get home safely and are looked after, through the provision  of blankets, water, flip flops and other supportive activities.  
  • Safe and Social Driving – this is about making our roads safer for all users and has targeted those age groups where the likelihood of being injured or killed is at the highest, i.e. 17 to 24 and 55 years plus. Projects funded include training to all year 12 and 13 pupils in secondary schools in the county on various road safety initiatives. The provision of an intensive driving course for 16 and 17 year olds (Pathfinder) which is proven to reduce their likelihood of having a road accident in the first 12 months of driving by 60%.
  • Safer Cyber – this is a priority which helps to educate those people of all ages who are likely to be the target or victim of a cyber fraud or other cyber enabled activity such as on-line bullying. Projects funded include working with schools, local theatres and businesses to increase the awareness of cyber-crime and how to report bullying.

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