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What is the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner

In 2012, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) took over the task of holding the police to account from Police Authorities. Police Authorities were committees made up mainly of county councillors - chosen to reflect the political make-up of the council - and a number of independent members, nominated by the police authority and approved by the Home Office. PCCs were created by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government to make the police more accountable.

What does the Police and Crime Commissioner do?

  • The Police and Crime Commissioner is responsible for the police budget
  • He holds the Chief Constable to account for the actions of the police
  • He acts a voice for the public on policing matters
  • He can commission services to achieve his core target of reducing crime

NB: The Police and Crime Commissioner does not run the police. The Chief Constable is responsible for all police operations

What is the role of the Police and Crime Panel

The Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel is a joint body of the local authorities served by Gloucestershire Police - Cheltenham Borough Council, Cotswold District Council, Forest of Dean District Council, Gloucester City Council, Gloucestershire County Council, Stroud District Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council. It examines and reviews the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner and is under a duty to support, as well as challenge, him. 

The panel is made up of 13 elected councillors and two independent members who are co-opted. It is administered by Gloucestershire County Council and holds regular meetings in public. The panel’s dedicated website is at:

PCC Martin Surl

How does this affect me personally?

As Police and Crime Commissioner, Martin speaks for you. Among the weaknesses of the Police Authority, it was regarded as too remote. Because it typically had 17 members, few knew who they were. Now, you only have one name to remember so that if you have a complaint against the police you know where to go for help in making your case.

That is what is meant by ‘holding the Chief Constable to account’.

A good example is the pilot badger culls which began in 2013 and are scheduled to continue at least until 2016. This was, and remains, an emotive issue for many people and because there had been nothing like it anywhere else in the country before, no-one knew what to expect. It was no surprise, therefore, that there were many who questioned how the event was policed. When the first cull was finished, Martin put many of the points raised - by both sides and those caught in the middle – to the Chief Constable and other senior officers involved in the operation. For the first time, the session was held in public and broadcast live on the internet so that people could either go to the meeting in person or watch at home.

This kind of accessibility is one of Martin’s priorities. 

How does this affect me within my community?

Any organisation funded through the Commissioner’s Fund has to show that the project relates to one of Martin’s six priorities.

To date, Martin has funded 234 projects submitted by 110 local organisations.

An example of work carried out under the Accessibility and Accountability priority is when Martin met with the Chief Constable to discuss public concern over the time it takes operators to answer some calls. Although the Constabulary’s response to 999 calls is very good and within the national standard, complaints were mounting over frequent long delays in answering the non-emergency 101 number. Changes were made to the force control room call handling system leading to a quicker response to 101 calls whilst retaining the good performance in relation to 999 calls with a long term plan in place which will continue to improve our service to the public.

An example of work carried out under the Older but not overlooked priority is Keep Safe. This is an organisation which started as a small group of 10 memory clubs in the Cotswolds and now, with the support of the Commissioner’s Fund, has 1,000 businesses signed up and its network reaches throughout the county. They provide a safe haven for more than 6,000 of Gloucestershire’s most vulnerable people who carry the Keep Safe card.

An example of work carried out under the Young people becoming responsible adults priority is a young person who’s been involved with gangs and a lot of the crime and anti-social behaviour that was happening in the Forest of Dean. 20 minutes after entering a taster session at the Forest Fighting Fit project in Cinderford, his demeanour had changed and he was taking part in all the activities. It would be unfair to name the boy for good reason but it is a heart-warming story.

An example of work carried out under the Safe and social driving priority is the number of young would-be motorists who go through the Pathfinder driving tuition project who appear to be more than four times safer than those who do not. They also appear to be less likely to be convicted of a traffic offence. Figures supplied by Pathfinder, the charity which runs courses funded by the Commissioner, suggest its graduates have an accident rate of 1 in 17 (6%); compared with 1 in 4 (25%) nationally.

How does this affect me as an organisation/charity/business?

Martin has a unique capability to commission services from organisations that will help to deliver the priorities of his police and crime plan. This means he can provide funds to local projects that will reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in their communities. Martin believes the best solutions come from those who have the greatest knowledge and understanding of the problems at hand and that local solutions are more likely to work than ideas imposed from outside.

To date, Martin has funded 234 projects submitted by 110 local organisations.

An example of work carried out under the Safer days and nights priority is the appointment of a manager to run Gloucester’s City Safe, a partnership approach involving local businesses operating in both the day and night-time economies, the police and local authorities to make the city the safest possible place in which to live, work, visit and socialise. It has had great success in barring trouble-makers through a yellow and red card scheme and is now being recognised by other towns and organisations as a solution to similar issues elsewhere.

An example of work carried out under the Safer Cyber priority is the country’s first Safer Cyber Forum. ‘Safer Cyber’ was added to the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan priorities in April 2014 following overwhelming support from the public who wanted more done to prevent things like internet fraud and online bullying. The event included workshops looking at business awareness of the risks around cyber security; practical housekeeping around business protection and the advice available to allow a business to stay up to date.

Page last updated: 10 January 2018