PEOPLE in Gloucestershire want to see more money spent on recruiting police officers, according to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC).

A total of 657 people - roughly one per cent of the county’s population - responded to an OPCC survey dubbed ‘Perception of Crime’, which asked how residents feel about the level of crime in their neighbourhood.

Around 75 per cent said Gloucestershire Constabulary did not have enough money to do its job.

Many wanted to see more spent on recruiting extra officers, improving the criminal justice system, attending, solving and fighting crime.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Chris Nelson has been repeatedly criticised since his election in 2021 for his predicted failure to deliver on a manifesto commitment to recruit 300 new police officers and 150 special constables by the end of his four-year term.

Among the issues which most concerned those who took part in the questionnaire were drugs, burglary, anti-social behaviour, speeding, street drinking, rural crime and organised crime.

However, 90 per cent of those surveyed did say they felt “generally safe or very safe.”

The OPCC says that while the number of respondents was low, the survey can still be considered representative “with just a four per cent margin for error”.

Mr Nelson, who is currently drawing-up the policing budget for the next financial year, said: “Speaking to residents on the doorstep has given me a good feeling for what people want to see the police doing. Visibility, tackling neighbourhood crime and anti-social behaviour.

“But I also wanted to seek their views on how to address rising prices and inflation, which are squeezing the Constabulary’s finances and its ability to provide the services everyone would like to see.

“The findings of this survey are clear. The public want to see investment in our police and that’s what I’m doing.

“With the cost of policing in Gloucestershire is split almost equally between Central Government and local tax payers, any extra investment the public want to make will have to come out of council tax.

“I will be producing a budget that will help the Constabulary provide the service the public deserves and wants to see, but at a cost it can afford”.

The PCC told a police and crime panel last year that he would be “jolly lucky” to recruit the full 300 officers he promised in 2021.

Last February he told councillors the constabulary would recruit 400 extra personnel, but only around 200 would be full time.

He said he had to change his priorities after a visit by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services found the force was ‘inadequate’ in five areas of policing, including how it investigates crime.

He was again criticised in the summer when, under questioning from councillors, it emerged just 50 of the 200 full time staff promised were police officers.