Road Safety – views from PCC Candidates
If you’ve not already voted postally, you may want to read this before you vote for our next Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC).
Current PCC – Martin Surl
Retired police officer and consultant Martin Surl (Independent) has been Gloucestershire’s PCC since the role was created in 2012 and is standing again. Road safety has been one of his priority areas under the Safe & Social Roads initiative . During his time in office, Martin has allocated 1% of the total policing budget to the Commissioner’s Fund which supports local projects in this and other priority areas. He instigated the recent Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner (OPCC) Safe and Social Roads survey for parish and town councils. The Speed Watch Team completed it back in January. We thought the questions showed good insight into the current problems, especially the lack of partnership working.
A Roadside Meeting
Community Speed Watch member Don Cribb persuaded another candidate to attend a roadside meeting in Stinchcombe. Full marks to Chris Nelson (Conservative) for sparing the time to speak to us. We told him about Stinchcombe’s experiences trying to get something done about speeding over the last couple of decades. Trying to back out of a drive onto busy Taits Hill Road was a bit of an eyeopener for him!
Chris, an army veteran and former Parish Council Chair, outlines his ideas in the short video Empowering Communities . They are based on a much great role for parish councils in:
- recruiting an additional 150 special constables to work in their own communities;
- deploying modern speed monitoring technologies such as AutoSpeedWatch (supported by more police staff and shared funding where appropriate); and
- making greater use of Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert Schemes
If elected, he would want to meet groups of Parish Council representatives as soon as possible to get things moving.
Other PCC Candidates
In the interests of balance, I emailed the comments and questions we discussed with Chris Nelson to the other candidates:
- Martin Surl (Independent)
- Adrian Stratton (Independent)
- Chris Coleman (Liberal Democrats)
- Simon O’Rourke (Labour)
At the time of writing only Adrian Stratton has replied. He served 30 years with Gloucestershire Constabulary and you can read more about him here . Adrian told me that speeding and road safety is ‘amongst the top topics of concern’ in the many emails he receives. If elected, he would review the data from the OPCC survey to ‘better understand the problems and concerns’ and ‘hopefully offer ideas and long-term solutions’. Adrian believes ‘the sight of the Police lights on the Traffic Officer’s car pulling over a motorist was one of the biggest deterrents you could have’ and wants to bring staffing of this role back to former levels. He suggests that ‘the whole issue clearly needs to be re-vamped and made workable for all parties’ and would want to sit down with people like me to resolve the issues sooner rather than later.
Please vote thoughtfully
Putting together this article has helped me decide who to vote for as the next PCC. I hope a few others will find it helpful too.