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TiG survey results: Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 03, 2012

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MOST people believe Gloucestershire does not need a Police and Crime Commissioner, according to a new survey.

But whether the voters want the position or not someone will be elected to the post on November 15.

Their are four candidates in the county. Victoria Atkins (Conservative), Alistair Cameron (Lib Dem), Rupi Dhanda (Labour) and Martin Surl (Independent) are all bidding for the £65,000 a year job.

However, more than half of the 200 people who completed our survey on www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk said they do not believe the county needs the position.

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Just 61 per cent of people said they understood the role.

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When asked to respond to the survey, Mr Cameron said: "I am not surprised by the results. There is still a major job to explain the role."

Most respondents wanted the candidates to focus on anti-social behaviour, tougher sentences and speeding up the criminal justice system.

He added: "The survey shows that anti-social behaviour needs to be dealt with."

One of the biggest criticisms of the new role is that most of the candidates are representing a political party.

Independent Mr Surl said the survey reflected what people had been telling him and he shared their views.

"In particular, I found people from all walks of life who just don't want party politics in policing," he said.

"People should vote, because if they don't, they will get what they are given at a time when they need to say what they think," he said.

Many in Gloucestershire also feel the salary is too much, with 55.5 per cent wanting them to be paid less. Labour candidate Mrs Dhanda said: "The majority of people think we don't need this role, that it is a waste of time and that the £100million it is costing could have been spent on frontline policing instead."

But she said she would push hard for residents who opposed cuts to officers and closure of police stations.

In the survey, 44.5 per cent of those who responded said they would be voting – higher than the turn out is expected to be.

Conservative Mrs Atkins said: "I think it will take time for people to realise that we do need a commissioner and how electing the right PCC will improve our county.

"I am convinced that once people see the Commissioner in action they will wonder why we didn't have them earlier."

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  • eyeopener  |  November 05 2012, 11:08PM

    There is an alternative vote: You can vote against having a crime commissioner by simply not voting. By voting you allow the Coalition government to claim that the electorate support having a crime commissioner. By not voting you make the vote for any candidate so small as to damage their legitimacy. That will land the government with a problem. How to explain wasting £100million on a farce instead of on front line policing.

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  • JeanGRIGG  |  November 05 2012, 10:47PM

    I dont see Martin Surl as an independant - however that is not my point, who will have a voice is realy very relevant to the democratic choice & it is those who have Registered to Vote, not those whom we hear dont want to, by "journalistic experts" who do have a Democratic choice and the choice will be made by those who choose to vote, specfically in greater numbers, let us hope they dont vote blind?jg

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  • Aletheia  |  November 04 2012, 4:52PM

    The government have pedalled this position as being more democratic because the commissioner is elected in to post by the public. I would argue that, as there is only one person in this role, once in post there is nothing very democratic about it but more of a dictatorial position. The police authority that is being replaced was made up of local councillors, magistrates and independents who formed an overseeing committee, normally 17 in number. Being that 17 people were involved it meant that there was input from all over the county and extremist views would not win the day. That also helped check against decisions being made for a political reason. Sadly, once the new system is in place we will have elected a politician to be effectively in charge of the police unless we vote for an independent. Commissioners are not required to relinquish their party membership once elected. Let's say that the current economic climate worsens and we go from a recession to a depression. Make no mistake, racism will very quickly rise when people have no job and benefits are below the living wage. The historical reaction is that the indigenous population will blame the 'foreigners' from stealing their jobs. Out of the unrest a very right wing candidate, a fascist, is put up for election. He wins by a landslide and immediately starts instructing the Chief Constable to be 'firmer' with these people. This may sound a bit alarmist but it is a distinct possibility that in a densely populated urban area this could happen. The Chief Constable is supposed to be operationally independent of the Commissioner but as the Commissioner has the power to sack him we all know the reality of that so called independence. We currently have legislation that is supposed to stop bullying in the workplace an unfair dismissal but I think we all know that a clever employer is always able to engineer reasons to dismiss someone and the Chief would be no different. Sadly, the whole affair is already political. Consider this, the Labour Party fought against having this system adopted yet now it is happening they have very happily fielded candidates all over the country including Gloucestershire. If they disagree with it and they claim that the post will be none political then why would the Labour Party or any other party come to that, want to field a candidate? Well, they have obviously told us a lie there. It is and will be political, very political. How sad that we will be moving on to a police force no longer concerned with protecting life and property and the preservation of the peace and one which swears allegiance to the Queen and not government but one which, comrade, is watching you on behalf of our great leader and protector. Since the war against Oceana and the victory of our valiant forces..............the year 1984, I mean 2012, could be a major turning point in history. We could, of course, refuse to vote for any political candidates and just vote for the independents up and down the country regardless of how we feel about them!

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  • GlosYap2  |  November 03 2012, 10:19PM

    The first two paragraphs elequently summarise the state of democracy in this country. No further reading required...

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  • JeanGRIGG  |  November 03 2012, 5:48PM

    Big Dog you missed a point if found guilty and they are actually innocent, do you still want tougher sentencing.... oh no, "Democracy" at all levels is vital

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  • MartinSurl  |  November 03 2012, 5:25PM

    Martin Surl Independent Candidate. You can find full details of my manifesto on my web site http://tinyurl.com/77zau5t . Also this is the link to a national survey on the same subject, the results are similar. http://tinyurl.com/b4lk9vd Thanks Martin

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  • Ms_Superstar  |  November 03 2012, 4:29PM

    The post, by nature of making decisions on creating policies on behalf of the People, is political by definition. It cannot be otherwise. Because the commissioner is elected by he people of the county, the role would logically be less political than we have at present. Anyone with the ability to raise the £5,000 deposit and run an election campaign was free to submit a nomination paper (the closing date for nominations has now passed). The political parties selected their own candidates because they could. And, of course, they would naturally select candidates from their own membership, whose views most closely reflect the party line. But that is the ONLY influence they have over their candidates. What puzzles me is, if Mrs Dhanda thinks it's a waste of time and money, why did she agree to be nominated? In my opinion the police nowadays are far too introspective, and often place their own values and needs above those of the public they should be protecting and serving. This emphasises the need for greater public accountability. Gloucestershire Constabulary's motto used to be "With Pride and Care". Now it's "People First Policing". One wonders which people they mean.

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  • DG9999  |  November 03 2012, 3:39PM

    daveofglos-Me too. The job is not for some politico to add to their CV on the way to jumping on the parliamentary or EU gravy train.

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  • FreeRadical1  |  November 03 2012, 3:26PM

    Quite apart from the poll not being statistically valid (as areaman has pointed out), there were probably a few trolls having fun. How else do you explain the fact that 9.5% of people apparently thought that the pay should be more than £65K?

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  • darrellglos  |  November 03 2012, 2:39PM

    The Police have never been accountable to the people, never takennotice of what the people say or want. How is having a Police Commissioner going to make any diffrence. Will he be accountable to us or Governmant.

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