Surrey PCC, Kevin Hurley, responds to HMIC ‘Crime Recording – Making The Victim Count’ report

Today the HMIC released its report Crime Recording – Making the Victim Count.

Responding to its findings, Kevin Hurley, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, said:

“Today’s HMIC report on crime statistics lifts the lid on what Government policy decisions are doing to policing. These decisions are now well and truly impacting victims of crime.

In Surrey’s case, HMIC found a force, led by an outstanding Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable, doing its level best to act ethically and do the right thing by victims in increasingly difficult circumstances.

What are our core problems? I quote:

“In too many cases, we found an unjustifiable lack of knowledge of the crime- recording regime on the part of officers and staff. The absence of any national training in the essentials of crime-recording is unsustainable.”

“Many frontline response and investigation department sergeants stated that the removal of the crime management unit (CMU), a decision taken as part of the force’s response to reduced budgets, has had a deeply adverse effect on the standards of crime recording. They are now inundated by large numbers of crimes sent by the force contact centre. In the past, many of these crimes were assessed for solvability and only viable crimes were sent for further investigation. They also felt that many victims were being given unrealistic expectations on the action likely to be taken by the police; these expectations were previously managed by the CMU.”

Why are these things happening?

Police training has been decimated. Bramshill, our most prestigious police college, world renowned for the quality of its teaching – sold.

Police budgets are being slashed by millions of pounds.

Police numbers have been reduced by more than 16,000 and are still falling.

These are the decisions of the Home Secretary and her culpability in the accelerating decline of our police service must not be ignored in today’s round of police bashing.

I know I bang on about these issues but they are the ones that really matter when it comes to protecting the public and giving a decent service.

During my 30 years in the job, I received a total of three years and 27 weeks of basic training as I progressed through the ranks. Today’s new starters, if they make a similar journey up the ranks, might expect to receive around 32 weeks of basic training. That is a reduction of more than two thirds.

Our officers and staff work so hard for people. They put their heart and soul into the job. But we cannot expect them to provide a Rolls Royce service on a bus ticket budget.

Nor can we expect them to continue to do a good job when their morale and motivation has been shattered by endless attacks from the Home Secretary. You cannot bully officers to be nosey or to face up to violent thugs. They must be inspired to do so, not threatened.

I have no confidence in the Home Secretary to do what needs to be done and invest properly in policing. For this reason I am now actively considering holding a referendum on a significant increase council tax in Surrey to raise the funds the police need to do the job. I am talking with the public of Surrey about this idea to see, in light of reports such as this, whether they would support me taking such a decision. Stay tuned for more information on this in the weeks and months ahead.”