Police Governance & Accountability in Action

Students pictured with PCC, Martin Surl – 2nd from left – and Gloucestershire’s Chief Constable, Rod Hansen

University of Gloucestershire BSc Professional Policing students recently visited Shire Hall in Gloucester (home of the County Council) to witness the Police and Crime Panel holding Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) – Martin Surl – to account. The Panel consists of 16 appointed local councillors plus 2 co-opted independent members.  The main task of the Panel on the day of our visit was to review the PCC’s proposed precept (the amount of police funding to be raised through council tax), which was set to increase by £24 per year per head for a Band D householder.

Students were not surprised to hear the Panel unanimously agree to the proposed increase.  The stark facts of financing Gloucestershire’s police were laid bare: no increase from UK central Government for several years; austerity measures which mean that the police have to ‘achieve more with less’; reductions to officer numbers (the Force have lost 200+ officers since 2010); and the changing and increasingly complex nature of crime, left the PCC with no realistic alternative but to support the Chief Constable’s bid for additional funding from the local tax payer.

Students were also reassured to find that Gloucestershire Constabulary is not a Force ‘down on its knees’; rather, it is one with a firm grip on the challenges it faces, a clear vision for the future of policing in the County, and a workforce that is committed to providing the best possible outcomes for local communities.

Police and Crime Panel member, Councillor Joe Harris, praised the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner for their ‘fair handed approach’ to delivering for the County. We were more than happy to support that sentiment.

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