The OPCC exists to support Gloucestershire’s Police & Crime Commissioner, an independent position elected by residents every four years.
Police & Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson has held the position since May 2021. This is his first term of office, which runs until May 2024. We spoke to Chris about his background, interests and commitment to Gloucestershire.
It is a genuine honour and privilege to be your Police and Crime Commissioner here in Gloucestershire. You might be familiar with my promises to take a zero-tolerance approach to all anti-social behaviours and put an extra 300 police officers onto Gloucestershire streets, but as my new role requires me to be ‘the voice of the people’, I thought it only right to introduce you to ‘the man behind the manifesto.’
I live in Cheltenham with my wife, Emma. In our spare time, we enjoy eating out in the town’s many wonderful independent restaurants; taking in a show at the Everyman Theatre or attending one of Cheltenham’s world-renowned festivals; and walking around Hatherley Park – one of my favourite places to relax.
Born a Geordie but growing up in Leeds, I joined the Army at the tender age of 18, starting with a gruelling year at Sandhurst. I retired as a full Colonel, having played my part defending democracy in the First Gulf War and protecting the vulnerable on the streets of Northern Ireland. Following my service, I had an international career in business, helping to provide state-of-the-art training facilities to police forces around the world; before becoming a Borough Councillor and Parish Council Chairman.
With almost 40 years’ experience working in public service, I am a firm believer in the importance of community – it’s one of the reasons I got involved in local politics in Cheltenham. I love speaking to people and hearing their stories. I like to think that as your Commissioner, being open and approachable will help me be your trusted and effective ambassador.
While my new role allows me much less free time, my family remains incredibly important to me. I have four children; a West Highland Terrier named Monty; and will soon become a Grandfather for the sixth time. I am a churchgoer; regularly attend circuit training at a local gym and am a keen tennis player. I’ve been known to describe East Glos Tennis Club as my ‘second home’ – perhaps one day I will see you on court?
During my campaign to become Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, I spent many hours travelling around each of the County’s six districts. Overwhelmingly, you told me you wanted to see your police force focus on anti-social behaviour; rural crime and scam calls, with an improvement to the 101 service.
I believe my love of our County, combined with my wide range of working experiences, have given me the right skill sets for this demanding role, and it feels like the timing is right in my professional career – making me a ‘round peg in a round hole.’
I love this job and our beautiful County and trust you will find me committed to making a real difference for you and your families, helping to make Gloucestershire the safest area in the whole country.