Million-pound crackdown on anti-social behaviour as Commissioner receives funding for hotspot patrols

A FUNDING BOOST of £1million to combat anti-social behaviour (ASB) and serious violence in hotspots across Surrey has been welcomed by Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend. 

The money from the Home Office will help increase police presence and visibility in locations across the county where issues are identified and tackle violence and ASB with powers including stop and search, public space protection orders and closure notices. 

It’s part of a £66m package from government that will begin in April, after trials in counties including Essex and Lancashire cut ASB by as much as half. 

While neighbourhood crime in Surrey remains low, the Commissioner said she was listening to residents who identified ASB, burglary and drug-dealing as top priorities in a joint series of ‘Policing your Community’ events with Surrey Police this winter. 

Concerns about visible policing and drug use also featured among the 1,600 comments that she received in her Council tax survey; with over half of respondents selecting ASB as a key area they wanted Surrey Police to focus on in 2024.

In February, the Commissioner set the amount that residents will pay to help fund Surrey Police in the year ahead, saying that she wanted to support the Chief Constable’s Plan to tackle issues that matter most to local people, improve crime outcomes and drive out drug dealers and shoplifting gangs as part of major crime fighting operations. 
Surrey remains the fourth safest county in England and Wales and Surrey Police lead dedicated partnerships for reducing ASB and tackling the root causes of serious violence. Those partnerships include Surrey County Council and local borough councils, health and housing agencies so that problems can be tackled from multiple angles.

Police and Crime Commissioner walking through graffiti covered tunnel with two male police officers from the local team tackling anti-social behaviour in Spelthorne

Anti-social behaviour is sometimes viewed as ‘low level’, but persistent problems are often linked to a bigger picture that includes serious violence and the exploitation of the most vulnerable people in our community.
The Force and Commissioner’s office are focused on the support that is available to victims of ASB in Surrey, that includes help from Mediation Surrey and the dedicated Surrey Victim and Witness Care Unit that are funded by the Commissioner. 

Her office also plays a key role in the ASB Case Review process (formerly known as ‘Community Trigger’) that gives residents that have reported a problem three or more times over a six-month period the power to bring different organisations together to find a more permanent solution.

Sunny photo of Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend speaking to local Surrey Police officers on their bikes on the Woking canal path

Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend said: “Protecting people from harm and ensuring people feel safe are key priorities in my Police and Crime Plan for Surrey. 
“I am delighted that this money from the Home Office will directly boost the response to those issues that local residents have told me are the most important to them where they live, including reducing ASB and taking drug dealers off our streets.  
“People in Surrey regularly tell me that they want to see our police officers in their local community so I am really pleased that these extra patrols will also raise the visibility of those officers that are already working every day to protect our communities. 
“Surrey remains a safe place to live and the Force is now the biggest it has ever been. Following the feedback from our communities this winter – this investment will be a fantastic complement to the work that my office and Surrey Police are doing to improve the service that the public receive.” 
Chief Constable for Surrey Police Tim De Meyer said: “Hotspot policing cuts crime through highly visible policing and strong law enforcement in the areas that need it most.  It is proven to tackle problems such as anti-social behaviour, violence and drug dealing.  We will use technology and data to identify hotspots and target these with the traditional policing that we know people want to see.  I am sure that people will notice improvements and I look forward to reporting our progress in fighting crime and protecting people.

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