Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl has admitted that, despite statements previously attributed to his team, Gloucestershire was eligible to apply for Government anti-burglary cash.
At a tense meeting of the County's Police and Crime Panel today, Mr Surl explained the Constabulary had considered bids in two areas, which he refused to name. On 14 Aug, Deputy PCC Chris Brierley was reported as telling GlosLive "The PCC's Office felt low residential burglary figures meant Gloucestershire would be unlikely to be awarded any money from the new fund". He subsequently retweeted claims that [Gloucester MP] "Richard [Graham] still going on about a fund which was not available for PCC to apply for due to Gov rules he voted on!" However, a freedom of information (FOI) request from Conservative County Councillors showed that the PCC's office had been given a list of over 90 areas in the County that were potentially eligible.
Of the 43 Police Forces in England and Wales, 38 submitted bids, with many submitting more than one. Only 3 forces that submitted bids were unsuccessful (35 forces were successful). Even the safest police force in the country, Devon and Cornwall, managed to find a single area that would qualify. The FOI request also showed that the Deputy PCC himself supported making a bid.
Chris Nelson, Conservative Candidate to be the next Police and Crime Commissioner says: "Why did the PCC's office try to blame Government rules for missing at least £500K in anti-burglary cash, when they were being told by Gloucestershire Police that lots of areas in our County were eligible? Martin Surl was notified about this grant on the 2nd of October, and personally consulted on the bidding rules. If he didn't like them - why didn't he speak out? The bid deadline was 2 April, so he had 6 months to prepare a bid but failed to do so. Gloucestershire has the highest level of domestic burglaries in the South West - missing out on £500K of Government anti-burglary cash is a very serious failing."