A significant increase in issues and crimes affecting vulnerable people, accompanied by austerity-driven budget cuts means the current local policing model in Surrey needs to change.In the last three years there has been an increase in violent crime.
Crime is changing
- Over the last three years we have seen a 153% increase in reports of rape, a 122% increase in reports of sexual offences and a 34% increase in reports of domestic violence. In the same time period reports of house burglaries have fallen by 24% and reports of theft from cars is down 32%.
- We now have five hospitals in our ten top locations for repeated calls for help. This illustrates the dramatic and ongoing change in typical call outs.
- Public safety and welfare issues currently make up 27% of all the incidents we deal with and 50-60% of crimes involve a vulnerable victim, witness or offender.
Set against the context that Surrey remains one of the safest counties in the country, we need the public to understand how the crime that does occur is changing. We are responding to all of these crimes and will continue to do so. We are also solving more crimes affecting vulnerable people, however reports to us continue to increase.
To meet this changing picture we are responding by increasing the size of our teams that protect the vulnerable by 34%. Earlier this year we also created a joint Cyber Crime Unit with Sussex Police.
Easy to access services and continuity of care
We know how much the public in Surrey values visible local policing and how you want policing to be responsive to your needs. Therefore, whether you want the convenience of just contacting us online, giving us a call or if you come to talk to us at one of our police front counters, we will try to resolve your inquiry straight away if we can. When we need to send an officer in most cases they will now be able to deal with your case from start to finish so you will get a better service and a better investigation.
Out in your neighbourhoods
You will see us more – technology means we do not need to go back to base to find out information and fill out forms. Your local policing team will be bigger as we will have more officers working for a specific Borough or District, tackling local problems and supporting smaller but still dedicated Safer Neighbourhood Teams. You will continue to have a dedicated local Inspector and dedicated Safer Neighbourhood Team Police Community Support Officers who will work with partners such as hospitals and councils to make communities safer. They will be focused on solving the chronic local issues that cause the greatest risk and harm to local communities.
Focusing on prevention and using your money better
We have to save a further £25 million over the next four years and we do not feel it is fair that the Surrey public pays for police to respond to and investigate crimes that big businesses could prevent. We will be working with businesses that could do more to stop crime occurring to encourage them to install solutions, such as pre-pay at petrol stations.
We also need the Surrey public to help us keep themselves safe by taking their own sensible crime prevention measures, whether that is protecting your computer from online crime, making sure you know who your children are talking to on the web and in person or just being neighbourly by helping those who might be vulnerable to stay safe.
We will be running a campaign in the New Year to help the public know who will be the most suitable organisation to deal with their concern or issue. Last year we dealt with 10,270 requests that could have been dealt with in a different way or by a more appropriate agency.
Delivering all our services differently
Local policing is just one small part of how we keep the public safe. Increasingly we are looking at how we work with local, regional and national partnerships and collaboration to deliver services in a better, more cost effective way.
- We have successful Joint Enforcement Teams made up of council officers and police officers tackling anti-social behaviour together in Reigate and Banstead and Spelthorne, and are about to roll out in Elmbridge on 4 December 2015.
- We run some services jointly with Sussex Police – both non-operational services such as HR, finance and IT and some joint specialist policing services such as firearms and major crime investigation.
- We are also working with other emergency services and local authority partners across Surrey and Sussex – to provide a more joined up service to the public and make better use of shared skills and resources that we all have. For example working with Surrey Fire and Rescue and using their specialist heat sensing equipment to help us search for missing people.
- We have well established regional police units for the South East who investigate organised crime and terrorism and a national police helicopter service. We are currently exploring other specialist services both regionally and nationally that could be delivered such as joined up systems through the National Police IT Company.
These plans will enable Surrey Police to better protect the public by responding to these changing patterns of crime and at the same time delivering the necessary savings. We will also keep neighbourhood policing visible, accessible and focused on solving the problems that blight local communities.
We will achieve these changes by adjusting how we respond, using technology to make us more efficient and moving existing officers and staff into priority areas, whilst also having to reduce local policing by a total of 234 staff posts and 32 officer posts.
Chief Constable Lynne Owens said: “Crime is changing and this is our response to it. We are re-focusing our services to protect the vulnerable and tackle the changing risks, threats and harm our communities face.Our plans still ensure that much valued visible local policing is at the heart of the Surrey Police model. Additionally we are equipping officers with technology so they do not need to waste time by going back to base. With the changing nature of crime and the requirement to save a further £25 million over the next four years this fundamental re-balancing of our policing service has been necessary.”
Ed : Lynne Owens was replaced by Nick Ephgrave in December 2015
Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kevin Hurley said: “It has been impossible to escape the news stories highlighting desperate attempts by police forces and Police and Crime Commissioners to mitigate the effects of government funding cuts. I would like to thank Surrey Police for their concerted efforts to make sensible and thoughtful savings in this restructuring plan that is ‘Policing in Your Neighbourhood’.”
Meet the Neighbourhood team
For profiles on our neighbourhood team, please click the link: Surrey Police website
Reporting Non-emergency incidents
Please report non-emergency incidents to Surrey Police by telephoning 101 or 01483 571212 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We recommend that you put these numbers in your mobile, to enable you to contact them when you need to. For emergencies dial 999
Surrey Police & Crime Plan 2016 published by the PCC
Source: Surrey Police website