Prospective Police Commissioner for Gloucestershire Martin Surl has been told he cannot attend police authority performance meetings. I’ll do it another way then, says Surl.
The authority has also said it won’t send him the papers giving information of what’s to be discussed.
“I’m rather surprised by the authority’s stance on its performance meeting because most of its meetings and papers are open to the public and it must be in the public interest”, said Mr Surl, a former superintendant with Gloucestershire Police.
“I fully understand some things have to be discussed in private, particularly where security or personnel issues are involved, but the question of police performance should not be talked about behind closed doors because it affects us all”.
The meeting in question on 29th February, Martin Surl suspects, would have received a report from Gloucestershire’s Chief Constable, Tony Melville, on the current state of the constabulary. Both the chief constable and the police authority have been at loggerheads over budget cuts and the possible impact on policing levels, so perhaps this is why the papers have been refused?
“I e-mailed the authority introducing myself and asking if I could attend and was told these meeting were held in private so could not, that’s their choice for now; I then asked for the papers, but was again refused; that was a shock.
“I really don’t see what’s to be gained by refusing these papers; even my FOI request has been declined. In fact, given that its days are numbered, I would have thought the Police Authority would have been keen to work with all candidates to try and make the succession, when it happens, as smooth and efficient as possible”.