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Citizen Comment: Election of independent PCC a surprise

By The Citizen  |  Posted: November 17, 2012

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THE election of a former police inspector, Martin Surl, standing as an independent, to become Gloucester's first police commissioner, took us by surprise.

Why? The Citizen thought that the Conservative-backed Victoria Atkins would carry the vote.

Why? We thought the election would be political and that the Tories would get their vote out. We were wrong.

Why? The turnout was 17 per cent, proving that few people were interested.

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The Citizen has tried hard to ensure our readers knew the issues from the candidates but there was little help from the Government.

Martin Surl seems an honest, no nonsense ex-copper from the Forest of Dean with a clear knowledge of policing in our county.

Is he a big enough man for the job? Only time will tell.

Perhaps it is a good thing that the current chief constable Mick Matthews is retiring from his job and going to Cyprus.

Martin Surl can then have a clear run and choose a new chief constable to his liking.

WHAT an amazing experience it was this week for the young singers and musicians from Gloucestershire who took to the stage of the Royal Albert Hall.

We are also blessed with schools and colleges who put a high premium on music and singing as part of young people's education and development.

IT is extremely worrying that a growing number of people are going to the Citizens Advice Bureau in the Forest of Dean after getting payday loans.

As Christmas approaches, with all the pressures that brings to families struggling to make ends meet anyway, people should be very wary indeed about them.

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  • SELINA30  |  November 17 2012, 10:26PM

    What a government shambles. £100million wasted would have been better spent on 3,000 bobbies. Perhaps the Citizen also thought the Tories would not get a drubbing in the countrys three by-elections.

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  • wilburv  |  November 17 2012, 7:50PM

    I don't know many people who voted, here or anywhere else in the country, those who did knew very little about the candidates or the issues and simply voted for the candidate who was independent of any political party and/or had some experience in the police, so this result doesn't surprise me at all.

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  • Glos_Lad34  |  November 17 2012, 11:55AM

    Martin Surl is definitely the right person for the job and good luck to him in the next 4 years.

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  • neil_65  |  November 17 2012, 9:43AM

    forget voter apathy.more ballot papers spoilt than usual,folk not voting cuz they dont agree and 12 independent candidates winning,suggests what the message to government was.

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  • spindles12  |  November 17 2012, 9:27AM

    According to the Home Office website: Police and crime commissioners (PCC's) will be required to pledge an oath to represent 'all sections of the public without fear or favour'. The oath is designed to provide a platform for PCCs to set out publicly their commitment to tackling their new role with integrity" So according to that, it doesn't matter if they support a certain political party or they are independent it shouldn't make any difference whoever got in. It's all well and good to say that Martin Surl has so much experience of the police because of all the years he spent in the force but I would imagine he will find it extremely difficult to be completely impartial when it comes to making hard decisions that go against the police and the way they work. Victoria Atkins was apparently in the lead and Martin Surl only won because of the second choice votes. Surely if people had wanted him voted in they would have put him first and he would have won anyway.

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  • GlosYap2  |  November 17 2012, 9:24AM

    Will be interesting to see if the commissioning of private sector continues in the service and if the new position becomes vulnerable to lobbying efforts of commercial enterprise for back-office services. Not being funny but given the atrocious record of the private sector in personal data protection, the last thing most people are going to want is giving profit-driven organisations access to much of the personal information available to the constabulary!

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  • SandraPee  |  November 17 2012, 8:58AM

    I too wasn't surprised at all that Martin Surl won . The election was very poorly arranged and there was little engagement with the general public , the majority of whom didn't want a political figure being involved in policing , or simply didn't see why there needed to be a change at all . It would have been extremely interesting to know what the turn out would have been had there been no postal votes ! I don't think you can blame the time of year ......... you can't just hold elections on warm sunny days ! I feel that until those seeking our votes put themselves out and engage more with the general public and listen to what the electorate are telling them instead of foisting unwanted , or deeply unfair or flawed policies upon their constituents they only have themselves to blame if they don't get the results they wanted . Gone are the days when a person stuck religiously to one political party . The three major parties ignore the views of the ''little people'' at their peril .

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  • MissyMadDog  |  November 17 2012, 7:55AM

    I don't think it was surprising Martin Surl won, just as it wasn't a surprise 11 other Independents won. Neither do I think it was just a reflection of voter apathy or lack of knowledge and understanding about the PCCs. Gloucestershire is and always has been predominatly Tory, so the fact an Independent won is a clear indication the public don't agree with politicizing the police, a factor which most media outlets seem to be ignoring.

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