On November 15, elections will be held to decide who will become Gloucestershire's first police and Crime Commissioner. To help you get to know the candidates, the SNJ is featuring a series of articles written by each of them ahead of polling day. This week, former police superintendent Martin Surl - who is standing as an independent - explains why he wants the role. 

IN just under two months time you will be asked to vote in one of the most significant elections ever.

Of course, all elections are significant as they usually involve choosing people who have a big say in how we run our lives Ð governments, councils, etc. 

What makes November 15 so special is that your vote will change forever how one of our most important and valued institutions - the police service - is managed. 

My priority is to reduce crime.

November 15 is the date when elections for the UK's first Police and Crime Commissioners takes place and yet how many know it is happening or what the job entails?

Due to a lack of information from the Coalition, which is creating the position to replace the current police authorities, many people think the Police and Crime Commissioner is a political appointment who will take the place of the chief constable. Neither is the case.

Whatever happens on November 15, the chief constable will still be responsible for the day to day running of Gloucestershire Constabulary, the commissioner will be responsible for the budget and its overall objectives.

In other words, the commissioner will set the priorities like making our streets safer for older people and women at night, it will be the chief constable's job to make it happen.

As for it being a political appointment, when David Cameron first announced the policy he said it was a job for people from all backgrounds, not just politicians.

When this paper invited me to write this article, it offered me 450 words to outline my key priorities and motivation for standing.

Sadly, 450 words barely scratch the surface but if I am elected, I will promise to make the police more accessible - which will undoubtedly include stopping the closure of our most important local stations - ensuring safe days and nights for all; ensuring older people do not feel they are left out of society; helping young people become adults and encouraging safe and social driving.

These are my aims and I want to hear your views.

I was born in Gloucestershire and my family has lived here for generations. I was brought up and educated in Cheltenham and Gloucester, as were my two children, and there is nowhere else my family and I would want to live.

As a former senior police officer, I have worked both at home and abroad in the field of justice and policing for more than 30 years.

That doesn't make me resistant to change but it does give me a unique understanding among my opponents of how important an effective police service is to our security and sense of community and, more importantly, how to achieve it.

Martin Surl
Twitter @GlosPCC