Three police forces in the South West have just received £1.2M as part of the Government’s Safer Streets Initiative, yet Gloucestershire has received nothing.
The funding available was for measures proven to cut crime. These include simple changes to the design of streets such as locked gates around alleyways, increased street-lighting and the installation of CCTV. The funding could also have been used to train community wardens, deliver local crime prevention advice to residents and establish Neighbourhood Watch schemes.
The most recent crime figures for Gloucestershire (Apr 19 – Mar 20) show that crime has gone up by 16%, even though crime nationally has fallen by up to 9%. Anti-Social Behaviour in the County has for years been more than 30% above the national average, so this extra money would have been really useful to stop offences that blight our communities and cause misery to victims.
Devon and Cornwall, the safest policing area in England and Wales, attracted £546,781 by highlighting a single area that met the threshold requirement in the Government bid guidelines – so questions are being asked as to why Gloucestershire received nothing. Local MP Richard Graham has suggested the PCC simply didn’t put in a bid. This would be despite no shortage of staff to help, with the PCC’s office costs increasing by 36% in the last two years – giving the PCC a staff comparable to all of Gloucestershire’s MPs put together. Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, tweeted: “Disappointed that no money for #Gloucestershire in govmt funded Safer Streets Fund. Even more disappointed to hear from Police Minister that no bid submitted by our Police & Crime Commr Martin Surl.”
Chris Nelson, Conservative Candidate to be our next Police and Crime Commissioner says: “The Commissioner needs to come clean. Why have we missed out when most police forces received generous allocations? Grants of at least £550,000 were readily available – many forces even made multiple bids. If the rules didn’t benefit Gloucestershire, isn’t his job to raise it with local MPs, or councillors, who could have helped him make a strong community bid based on some of our worst crime hotspots? Surely, with his massive personal office, he could have done more? If he simply didn’t bid, many people will say he’s really let the County down.”
There is more information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/safer-streets-fund-to-tackle-burglary-and-theft
You can also read about the story in local news outlets: