When I was elected as Police and Crime Commissioner in May, I pledged to keep residents’ views at the heart of my plans for the future. One of the most important roles I have is to represent the views of those who live and work in Surrey in how our county is policed and I want to make sure the public’s priorities are my priorities. So I am delighted to present my Police and Crime Plan which set out the key areas I believe Surrey Police need to focus on during my term of office.
There are a number of issues our communities have told me are important to them such as tackling anti-social behaviour in their local area, improving police visibility, making the county’s roads safer and preventing violence against women and girls. This Plan has been designed to reflect those priorities and will provide the basis on which I hold the Chief Constable to account for delivering a policing service our communities expect and deserve.
A great deal of work has gone into developing this Plan and I wanted to ensure it reflects as wide a range of views as possible on those issues that are important to people in Surrey. With the help of my Deputy Commissioner, Ellie Vesey- Thompson, we undertook the widest consultation process ever carried out by the Commissioner’s office. This included a county-wide survey of Surrey residents and direct conversations with key groups such as MPs, councillors, victim and survivor groups, young people, professionals in crime reduction and safety, rural crime groups and those representing Surrey’s diverse communities.
What we heard was lots of praise for the Surrey Police officers, staff and volunteers across the county, but also a desire to see a more visible police presence in our communities, tackling those crimes and issues that are important to people where they live.
Our police teams of course cannot be everywhere and much of the crime they have to deal with, such as domestic abuse and fraud, happens out of sight – in people’s homes and on-line. We know that a visible police presence can provide reassurance to residents, but we need to make sure that this is directed to the right places and has a purpose.
I am in no doubt that these are challenging times. In the last 18 months policing has been under great pressure as it adapted to delivering services and maintaining resources during the Covid-19 pandemic. More recently there has been intense public scrutiny following the shocking death of Sarah Everard at the hands of a serving police officer. This has sparked far-reaching debate about the continued epidemic of violence that women and girls experience and the police service has much work to do to combat this problem, tackle the root causes of offending and restore confidence in policing.
I have heard from you how important it is that those who offend, who target our vulnerable people or threaten our communities need to be brought to justice. I have also heard how important it is to you to feel connected to Surrey Police and to be able to get help when you need it.
Balancing these demands is the challenge our police leaders face. We are receiving more funding for police officers from the Government, but it will take time for these officers to be recruited and trained. Having spent a considerable amount of time out and about with our policing teams since I was elected, I have seen first-hand the hard work and dedication they put in every day to keep our county safe. They deserve the continued thanks of us all for their ongoing commitment.
Surrey is a fantastic place to live and work and I am committed to using this Plan and working with the Chief Constable to ensure we have a policing service in which this county can continue to be proud.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey
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