GLOUCESTERSHIRE Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl has earmarked £1 million to prepare for the expected impact of coronavirus on the county.

The money has been released from the commissioner’s cash reserves after discussions between his department and chief constable Rod Hansen to help deal with the ‘unprecedented period of uncertainty’ of the coming months.

Mr Surl has also promised to dip into the reserves again if the county’s police force needs more from him.

Mr Surl will not face a challenge to his job in May after the planned elections for Police and Crime Commissioners were postponed for 12 months across the country in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mr Surl said: “These reserves are held to deal with exceptional events.

“The circumstances in which we now find ourselves illustrate the importance of maintaining them throughout the last 10 years of austerity.

“Covid-19 is just such an exceptional event and we are entering an unprecedented period of uncertainty.

“It is right, therefore, that the chief constable is given the resources to respond in the most effective way possible and, if more funds are needed, they will also be provided.”

The money will now enable Mr Surl’s office to monitor and manage the costs which will be associated with the Covid-19 outbreak in the county and will help with planning for the future and, potentially, helping to recover some costs from the government at a future date.

Last Friday, the PCC elections, due to be held in early May, were postponed.

Mr Richard Bradley, chief executive of Mr Surl’s office, said: “Today (Friday March 13), the Cabinet Office (in London) announced that it had postponed Police and Crime Commissioner elections from Thursday May 7 2020 until May 2021.

“This was something that the Electoral Commission had urged the government to do.

“In Gloucestershire, this means Martin Surl will be Police and Crime Commissioner for a further 12 months from May and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) will continue with its business as usual to support the PCC in his role.

‘‘Once we do (have details), we will consider anything else we might need to do.”