Voters across the area head to the polls on Thursday to elect the county’s police and crime commissioner (PCC).

PCCs are elected officials whose role is to help ensure that police forces function effectively, but not to run those forces themselves.

Only two people have held the post in Gloucestershire since it was created in 2012.

The current PCC for Gloucestershire is Conservative Chris Nelson was elected in 2021.

And the previous Independent incumbent Martin Surl is standing for election again this year as a Liberal Democrat.

Also running are Independent Matthew Randolph and Labour’s Ashley Smith.

Below are statements from each of the candidates.

Chris Nelson – Conservative Party

Chris Nelson
Chris Nelson (supplied)

In the last three years as your police and crime commissioner, I have delivered all my election pledges :

I have opened new police hubs, made our roads safer by introducing the Community Speedwatch+ scheme, brought in £16 million of extra funding for things like more CCTV and made sure that every crime really does matter, by getting every crime recorded.

I have already funded over 400 more police, but we still need more detectives. I will ensure these extra resources are being used wisely, efficiently and effectively. But to do all that, I need your vote.

Your vote really will make the difference, and if you back my plan for more police and safer streets , I will continue making Gloucestershire safer.

Matthew James Randolph – Independent

Mathew Randolph
Matthew Randolph (supplied)

I have decided that it is necessary to stand as an independent candidate for the role of police and crime commissioner for Gloucestershire. Our constabulary is no longer a police service and now call themselves “the force” we do not pay for a force that takes instructions from our government we pay our constabulary to protect the public by investigating and detecting crimes, this is a duty our constabulary seem to have forgotten.

The duty of the police is to investigate all crimes independently that are reported to them, this is clearly not happening in Gloucestershire, our police fail to investigate certain crimes that are reported to them, depending on who committed them.

Victims are left weeks and even months for the police to attend and take statements, but always have enough staff to collect fines from motorists who may drive a few miles over the speed limits, is this what we really want from our police service.

As an independent commissioner I will not hide from the important issues that need addressing, I am the only candidate who will speak up for the people and ensure the issues you raise are fully investigated and hold our constabulary accountable if they fail in their duty. Vote for Matthew Randolph and you will have an independent voice for the people of Gloucestershire.

Ashley Smith – Labour Party

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith (supplied)

It’s time for change

Too often people fear that when things go wrong, no one will come and nothing will be done. Ask yourself, do you feel more or less safe than you did 14 years ago?

The Conservatives have cut neighbourhood policing and crippled our courts. More criminals are being let off and victims let down. Criminals today are less than half as likely to be caught as they were under the last Labour government. That is the scale of the collapse in law and order under this Conservative Government. It was a political choice to cut police.

Having grown up and lived in Gloucestershire my entire life, I know the issues facing our communities and have a record of standing up for my community as a Councillor on Stroud District Council. In my own ward I have seen the impact anti-social behaviour can have on the lives of families who ought to feel safe in their own communities and homes.

Fly tipping is rife and in Gloucestershire we face the unique challenge of rural crime which hurts our farmers, landscapes, and communities. In our town and city centres, shopworkers are too often forced to deal with violence, threats and abuse as a result of this breakdown in order. Nobody should feel threatened at work, walking home at night or in the comfort of their own homes.

Labour will be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. My priorities will be:

As your PCC, I will work tirelessly to make your voice heard and your priorities on crime delivered to keep our community safe.

Martin Surl – Liberal Democrat

Martin Surl
Martin Surl (supplied)

When it comes to policing in Gloucestershire, I think it’s time to go back to a time and place where ‘every crime mattered’ and ‘every victim mattered’. Such a time did exist, and it must return. That’s my pledge to you.

Between 2012 and 2021 I was Gloucestershire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner, during what I call the austerity years.

I was born in the County and served 32 years in the police in all ranks from constable to Chief Superintendent, spending the last five working throughout the UK to build the country’s first ever counter terrorism network.

I understand all aspects of policing from walking the beat, leading major investigations to the infrastructure that underpins it.

You’ll hear claims that the Tory government provided 20,000 more police, that’s true and Gloucestershire were given 150, but lost 249.

The Facts as I see them:

The police confirm, not even one of the extra promised police officers were recruited

Claims of 400 extra police just don’t add up. That’s unverified

15 years of austerity took our police to breaking point

249 full time experienced officers, 32 PCSO, 79 staff were cut and a £36,000,000 reduction to the annual budget imposed.

Crime not investigated, calls not answered and a demoralised workforce

Courts closed – massive backlogs and overflowing prisons

Youth clubs closed

A force struggling to recover post covid.

How do we ensure That Every Crime Matters?

A highly motivated workforce

A highly trained, skilled, and effective workforce

Improving the quality of investigation for all crimes

Improving the police response to all crimes

Improving service to victims of all crimes

Improving investigations of more road collisions, not just fatalities

Improving confidence in our police