Column: Pete Sake asks what's in store for Gloucestershire's new police boss
WELL, were you one of the pitiful few who voted in the Police and Crime Commissioner election?
A staggeringly poor 17.1% of around 472,000 voters turned out and I don't mind admitting I was one of the 5.8% who voted for independent Martin Surl.
I didn't go through with my veiled threat to spoil my paper in protest at a publicity stunt which I believe won't change much for the public or police.
When I got to the polling station, I went for the next best option – the former policeman.
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I think many felt the same way. While not a direct protest vote, I was certainly uncomfortable with the thought of a politician blowing with the wind of the majority on policing policy.
So Martin Surl got my vote and he picked up a stack of second preferences, which put paid to the Tory candidate's chances.
I breathed a quiet sigh of relief – if not ecstasy – at the result but now the hard work starts.
As I said last week, Gloucestershire is losing officers, PCSOs, backroom staff, police stations. Then there's the small matter of two Chief Constables leaving within a year.
First up, Mr Surl has to find a new chief. Whether he is able to choose from officers he's worked above or below during his time with the force before remains to be seen.
Regarded by an ex-copper I ran in to the other day as "a good thief taker" in his time, Mr Surl rose to a high rank. His first priority is to deal with officer morale.
Not surprisingly it's taken a battering in the face of £18million in cuts. That's good news – we need some happier boys and girls in blue on the beat as a baseline.
But has he got what it takes to deal with more cuts if that demand is made by Westminster?
Let's see what cards he's dealt by a Government whose candidates he defeated.
Please note, these are the candid views of our columnist and not those of Stroud Life.