Empowering local communities

Empowering local communities

Empowering communities is, for me, about finding every opportunity to work with people, to identify issues early and prioritise them, so that we can find practical solutions to tackle these problems as partners. I will always be driven by evidence, but that doesn’t always have to be data.

What communities tell us is important to them must be a priority – even if the volume data isn’t there – if I am to demonstrate that I have been elected to represent the public in policing. After all, feelings of safety and confidence in those responsible for keeping us safe, will only improve if crimes communities tell us are causing them harm, are prioritised.

Community building

As already mentioned, I am committed to working with communities as equal partners in any problem solving activity. To this end I remain committed to the advances already made by the OPCC, Constabulary and many other Gloucestershire partner agencies in further developing how we build stronger, safer and more resilient communities though community building.

Community building (sometimes called Asset Based Community Development or ABCD) is an approach to problem solving whereby agencies continually seek to identify the best opportunities, or ‘assets’ as the basis to connect
local people and act together with a common purpose. Assets can include interests, skills, knowledge and places. Any subsequent activity is done ‘with’ the people involved and practice shows the benefits of this way of working are more sustainable in the long term, than when an intervention is led by the police or other statutory agencies. Both local and international research also shows that people acting together with a common purpose increases feelings of wellbeing and safety.

Through this plan, I am keen that the Constabulary continues to embed community building practices in their neighbourhood approach to policing with communities. This includes the expansion of Neighbourhood Watch
as a means of enhancing community assets and Community Alerts to strengthen communication from and to the Constabulary and OPCC.

Volunteer supported scrutiny

In order that I carry out the many functions of my role, I often need the support of volunteers such as with the Independent Custody Visitors. Independent Custody Visitors (ICV) schemes exist to provide assurance to local communities that they can have confidence in the way in which the police treat people who are held in their custody. Ensuring effective management and oversight of the ICV Scheme is a statutory responsibility of the PCC.

During my time in office, I will continue to support the development of the ICV scheme in Gloucestershire as an excellent method of scrutiny of Constabulary functions and practices. I also want to expand this form of scrutiny to other areas of business. I support the development of the Animal Welfare Scheme
which allows independent members of the public to visit police dog training centres, accommodation and police stations to observe, comment and report on the conditions under which police dogs are housed, trained and transported.

I am also keen to progress further opportunities for volunteers to support scrutiny such as with complaints. Under my leadership my office will develop a panel of local people, reflective of our diverse communities, to help review how complaints are managed within the Constabulary and OPCC. The panel will assess
complaints for efficiency, fairness, transparency and service to the public. Their aim will be to ‘act as a critical friend’ by providing feedback on completed complaint files to the OPCC and the Constabulary’s Professional Standards Department (PSD) to ensure the police maintaina high quality approach to complaints which focuses on accountability, transparency and learning.

How we will deliver

Being present and listening to people Understanding our communities Working together Improving our services
Listening to our communities to focus attention on the crimes which have the greatest impact on them through roadshows, consultation and engagement Monitoring levels of crime and anti-social behaviour and ensuring that the police and partners intervene early to prevent crime and prevent escalation Working with partners and building the response to crime and ASB in our
communities by working with communities, not doing to them so that they have ownership and create the best chance for sustainable change
Evaluating policies, practices, and performance to ensure that we are constantly improving the way we work to provide local services that the public have confidence in
Providing resources Providing resources and improving visibility Building networks
Supporting and resourcing community initiatives that divert people away from criminal behaviour, particularly supporting children, and helping to build safer and stronger local communities Enhancing frontline policing, improving community safety through volunteers and providing resources for the police to deter, detect and deal with criminals Working with local, regional and national partners to improve the service we offer to the public and make it greater than the sum of its parts.


The Commissioner’s Fund

Here in Gloucestershire, PCC Martin Surl allocates 1% of the overall policing budget to the Commissioner’s Fund, which supports county-based projects that deliver one or more of our priorities. Our aim is to work directly with communities to make Gloucestershire safer.

About the fund

Latest updates from your OPCC