Kevin Hurley responds to HMIC PEEL assessment

HMIC has today published its annual assessment of the state of policing today.

Responding to HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor’s comments, Kevin Hurley, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, said:

“Tom Winsor is right – in seeking to address the leadership challenges of the present and the future we would do well to heed the lessons of the past. He’s also right that we need to do more to meet the challenges of emerging types of crime.

“As someone who did 30 years in the police, I can tell you with confidence that the role of a police officer today is much more complex than it used to be. It’s getting even more so. Yet officers 20 years ago would get three times more professional training over the course of their journey up the ranks or, as in my case specialist investigations, than their counterparts of today.

“There has been a systematic dismantling of police training in recent years, accelerated by this Government, which only a few weeks ago sold Bramshill, the jewel in the crown of police learning in this country and an institution revered by police services around the world. Moreover, Pannal Ash in Harrogate, the centre of police doctrine, training and development, has been disposed of, with staff made redundant or crammed into rented offices. The one remaining national centre at Ryton – the College of Policing – is unable to deliver on the demand for the much-reduced national training programmes now being offered.

“I see no improvement on the horizon, only a worsening of the situation.

“Capability is one thing, but we must not forget capacity, which is also declining rapidly. I visited our team tackling online paedophiles recently. We have nine specialist officers in Surrey doing this critical work, dealing with hundreds of offences. Nine. We would love to have more but where do we get them from? Take people from 999 emergency response? Take them from Traffic units – when our fatal accident rate is increasing? Take them from Neighbourhoods or Firearms teams or CID? What about Counter-Terrorism? Shall we cut that? Chief Constables are facing real dilemmas at this time of austerity.

“There is simply not enough money being invested to ensure our future safety and protect our economic prosperity from the effects of crime. The recommendations of HMIC- the police should do this, the police should do that – are all well and good. But without a decisive move from the Government to either release £2bn for frontline policing by merging police forces or to somehow increase funding to each of the 43 that currently exist, these recommendations are little more than well-intentioned fantasy.”