The Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey David Munro said the county’s share of the first wave of an extra 20,000 officers nationwide will be ‘gratefully received and wisely used’ following the government’s allocation announcement today.
However the PCC has expressed his disappointment that Surrey Police has been left ‘short changed’ by the process being based on the current central government grant system. Surrey has the lowest percentage grant of any force in the country.
The Home Office revealed today how the first intake of those extra officers, originally announced this summer, will be distributed across all 43 forces in England and Wales over the first year of a three year programme.
The recruitment target they have set for Surrey is 78 by the end of 2020/21.
The Government is providing £750 million to support forces to recruit up to 6,000 additional officers by the end of that financial year. They have also pledged funding for recruitment will cover all associated costs, including training and kit.
The PCC said the uplift will help bolster ranks across the Force and he was keen to see numbers strengthened in areas such as neighbourhood policing, fraud and cybercrime and roads policing.
Surrey Police has already launched its own recruitment drive in recent months to fill a number of roles which includes the uplift of 104 officers and operational staff created by PCC’s increased council tax precept.
The PCC wrote to the Home Secretary last week saying he didn’t want to see the allocation process based on the grant system which would leave Surrey at an unfair disadvantage.
In the letter, the PCC also called for the amount of reserves forces have to be part of the equation. Surrey Police currently has no general reserves beyond the safe minimum having used unallocated funds to shore up revenue budgets over recent years.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro said: “The addition of 20,000 new officers is a much needed shot in the arm for policing nationwide and Surrey’s share of that uplift will be a welcome boost for our communities.
“However, today’s news has left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, these extra officers are gratefully received and will make a real difference to our residents. But I do feel the allocation process has left Surrey short-changed.
“Using the current grant system as the basis for allocation puts us at an unfair disadvantage. A more equitable distribution would have been on total net revenue budget which would have put Surrey Police on a fair footing with other forces of a similar size.
“In that respect, I am disappointed as we have estimated this would mean around 40 to 60 officers less over the life of the proposed three-year programme. It has been mentioned that the formula for distribution for the remainder of the programme may be reviewed so I will be watching any developments with interest.
“In the last decade the priority has rightly been to protect warranted police officer numbers in Surrey at all costs. This has meant that Surrey Police managed to keep officer numbers steady despite having to make significant savings. However the effect has been that police staff numbers have been reduced disproportionately.
“What we must do now is ensure we use these extra resources wisely and target them at the areas we need to strengthen. We must focus our attention on getting those extra officers recruited, trained and serving the residents of Surrey as soon as possible.”