Throughout the Police and Crime Commissioner election, the Government where very strong on the fact that the PCC with be an independent Post that is accountable only to the public who elected them as well as having sole responsibility to hire and fire the Chief Constable. However, as with many things from this Government, it seems this is not the case and the Gloucestershire PCC, Martin Surl has already made himself unpopular by, god forbid, doing his job!
This all revolves around the selection of the new Chief, after Mick Matthews resigned to go to a new role. Martin Surl interviewed a cast of thousands to appoint the new Chief, and after selecting Suzette Davenport he announced his decision to the press.
However, the Police and Crime Panel seem to think that Martin should have told them first and are rather put out about it. What many don’t realise is that Martin has a Panel of people to oversee what he does. I know your thinking that Martin was supposed to be that “directly accountable to the voters” and all that, but rather than get rid of the Police Authority, it seems they have only made it smaller and put it above Martin. So rather than revolutionise the Police, the PCC has just gone in as another layer of management.
I think Martin was right to do what he did. If it is his responsibility then let him get on with it and do it in his way. If it’s not, then what was the point of the role in the first place?
This also has wider implications for policing in Gloucestershire. Just how much remit does the Police and Crime Panel have? Does it meas it can be loaded with politicians who will effectivly block what the PCC does if its not popular? Many people voted independent because they did not want a politician in the role, so is this policing politics by the back door? Why did we not elect the panel as well?