Newly elected Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl looks ahead to his first weeks:
Throughout the past few weeks myself, and other candidates, were told by the media that the public wasn't interested in this election, that no one knew what it was about and that it was a waste of time. Well, I have spent most of the past month – and some time before that – getting around the county and wherever I went, people were only too happy to talk about what they expect from the police and about issues around their safety, that of their communities and the criminal justice system.
Yes, I would have liked more people to have voted but there was nothing more I could have done. I was pleased to have gathered support across the county and in the second preference I achieved the most votes in all six of our districts.
You can blame the Government for the election's timing and for not making more information available. All I can do is promise to represent everyone who did vote for me and, just as importantly, those who did not. The Government has created this role to make the police more accountable, to improve the service they provide and to help ensure we live in a peaceful and safe society. That will be my aim.
Yes, I stood because I believe political influence on the police should be kept to a minimum but also because I believe Gloucestershire has a police service to be proud of and because I want to play my part in making it even better.
That is not a job I can do on my own. I look forward to working with a number of people and organisations to make that happen.
Let us not forget, the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner is not just about the police service. It is also about the wider criminal justice system and community safety.
Many people have told me what they would like me to do and I will continue to seek views and to listen. That includes hearing from employees of Gloucestershire Constabulary who, up until now, have been unable to express their opinions. I am told that morale within the constabulary is low and I want to address that as a matter of urgency.
As I have said, Gloucestershire already has a police service to be proud of so there's no need for a revolution but I made promises in my manifesto and I aim to keep them.
You have elected me to be a new voice for policing in Gloucestershire and that is what I intend to be.