First of all, thank you to the 78,592 people who voted for me. I am proud to be the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire and extremely humble that so many have put their trust in me to continue the work my team and I began in 2012.

That figure represents about 30.5% of the number of people entitled to vote and is a great improvement on the first election. But whilst it also compares favourably with the turnout in other local elections, it also means that two out of every three who could vote, did not. We need to know why that was – and also why there were so many spoiled ballot papers. Was it because many were confused by the second preference voting system?

Possibly the main reason is that having created the role of PCC, the Government, has simply failed to invest sufficient time or resources into fully explaining what it is all about. For example, compare the reported £9,000,000 spent on the pro-EU referendum leaflet to the £2,300 that went on explaining the PCC election. I spent more on converting the trailer I used to advertise my campaign. And yet, wherever I went canvassing, the people I met were hungry for information.

Some may not have voted because they feel role is unnecessary. To those I would say that the Government introduced PCCs to be a more effective and accessible representative of the public in policing matters; to make the police more accountable, to improve the service they provide and to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. The question at the election was not whether there should be a PCC but who was best equipped to do the job.

Others may not have voted because they had insufficient information about the candidates. I cannot speak for my opponents but whilst the Conservative and Labour candidates may have been able to call on their parties for support, I, and other independents, had to manage as best we could. To that end, I am very grateful to those of my supporters who delivered leaflets on my behalf. Together we managed to get to some 40,000 homes and I spoke to countless numbers on the streets and at the hustings events – but I simply could not afford the cost of leafleting every house in the county. I did, however, write a detailed manifesto – the only local candidate to do so incidentally – and created a dedicated website which included that and a wealth of other information about me, my record in office and my aims for the future.

There are also those who may not have voted because they consider the role of PCC an unwarranted cost.  If you browse this site you will see that the OPCC is less of an expense on local taxpayers than the Police Authority it replaced. You will also see that I have been able to save the public purse an estimated £10 million more by being able to act in a much quicker and more commercially-minded fashion than under the committee system exemplified by the old Police Authority.

I respected my opponents but I believe policing and party politics should be kept separate. Policing should serve and protect all people, regardless of their political preferences.

In my 2012 manifesto, I made 40 promises and I have kept them all. I have now begun work with my team, the Chief Constable and others to finalise the Police and Crime Plan for the next four years based on the ideas set out in this election manifesto.

Thank you for re-electing me and giving me that opportunity.

Martin Surl

Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire