Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner wants bobbies on the beat
CREATING a more visible police force on the streets of Gloucestershire is high on the list of priorities for its first police and crime commissioner.
Martin Surl, the independent candidate who was voted into the new post last week, wasted no time in publicising his wish.
Yesterday was his first official day at work and he spent it meeting members of the public and police officers in Gloucestershire.
At a free Christmas party for over 55s in Prior's Park, Tewkesbury, the former police superintendent met residents and members of the media.
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He said he would tell the police's top brass that having officers out on foot patrol was a vital part of their job.
The 55-year-old said he wanted to see all new recruits undertake a minimum number of foot patrol hours during their first two years.
"Young officers will learn the art of foot patrol and that will stay with them all their career," he said. "It's as important as learning how to drive the car and knowing the basics of the criminal justice system.
"It's absolutely what the public feel."
"People want to see the police on the streets."
The number of officers on the streets, he said, would be up to senior officers, in consultation with himself, to decide.
And he added that foot patrols, though a very important part, were just one aspect of operational policing that the chief constable would ultimately be responsible for.
Mr Surl, who worked in policing for more than 30 years and lives in Birdlip, has to appoint a new chief constable following Mick Matthews' decision to move to Cyprus.
The new commissioner said the post had been advertised yesterday and people had three weeks to apply. After a short-list had been drawn up, he said interviews would take place just before or just after Christmas.
Between now and the end of January, Mr Surl said he would complete the writing of his police and crime plan and set the budget for Gloucestershire police.
The amount of money in it would be affected by the amount of funding allocated by the Government. Asked what his key priority for the plan would be, he said there were too many issues to single one out but he said the plan would cover those he had laid out in his manifesto and he felt he would be able to deliver them.
He added: "The key essence will be a crime plan for the entire county, not just for the police. It will be inclusive."