Commissioner’s response to HMICFRS Report: PEEL 2023–2025: An inspection of Surrey Police

  • I was really pleased to see that the Force is quick to bring offenders to justice, as well as diverting lower-level offenders away from a life of crime. The innovative ways Surrey Police protects residents and cuts reoffending, particularly through rehabilitation, has also been highlighted.
  • The best thing for all potential victims is to prevent crime happening in the first place through the education and rehabilitation of perpetrators, where that is possible. That’s why I’m pleased that inspectors noted the vital role of our Checkpoint Plus service, a deferred prosecution scheme that has an average reoffending rate of 6.3 per cent, compared to 25 per cent for those not going through the scheme. I’m very proud to help fund this fantastic initiative.
  • The HMICFRS report says improvements are needed when it comes to the public’s contact with Surrey Police, and I’m pleased to say that those issues are already well in-hand under the new Chief Constable.
  • In January, we recorded the best performance for answering 101 calls since 2020, and over 90 per cent of 999 calls are now answered within 10 seconds.
  • A key issue we are facing is the volume of calls that aren’t related to crime. Surrey Police figures show that fewer than one in five calls – around 18 per cent – is about a crime, and just under 38 per cent are marked as ‘public safety/welfare’.
  • Correspondingly, in August 2023, our officers spent more than 700 hours with people in mental health crisis – the highest number of hours ever recorded.
  • This year we will roll out ‘Right Care, Right Person in Surrey’, which aims to ensure those suffering with their mental health are seen by the best person to support them. In most cases, this will be a medical professional. Across England and Wales, it’s estimated that the initiative will save one million hours of officers’ time a year.”
  • Victims of violence against women and girls must get all the support they need, and their attackers brought to justice wherever possible. Reporting sexual violence to the police is an act of true courage, and the Chief Constable and I are committed to ensuring these survivors will always get the best from the police.
  • I am reassured, as I hope residents will be, that the Chief Constable has made a commitment to ensure every crime reported to the Force is accurately recorded, that all reasonable lines of enquiry are followed, and that criminals are relentlessly pursued.
  • There is work to be done, but I know how hard every officer and member of staff in Surrey Police works every day to keep residents safe. Every single one will be committed to making the improvements needed.
  • I have requested the Chief Constable’s view on the report, as he has stated:

As the new Chief Constable of Surrey Police I, along with my senior leadership team, welcome the report published by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue.

We must fight crime and protect people, earn the trust and confidence of all our communities, and ensure that we are here for everyone who needs us. This is what the Surrey public rightly expect of the police. We should never take for granted the trust of our communities. Instead, we should assume that in every issue, incident and investigation, trust must be earned. And when people need us, we must be there for them.

RECOMMENDATION 1 – Within three months, Surrey Police should improve its ability to answer emergency calls quickly enough.

  • Following concerns from HMICFRS about the promptness of responding to emergency calls, Surrey Police has implemented several significant changes. These adjustments have begun to yield positive outcomes. Call data shows a month-over-month improvement: 79.3% in October, 88.4% in November, and 92.1% in December. However, HMICFRS has noted a technical lag between the call data from BT and that of Surrey Police and other regional forces. It is the BT call data against which Surrey’s performance will be evaluated. For November, the BT data recorded an 86.1% compliance rate, slightly lower than Surrey’s own reported rate of 88.4%. However, this positioned Surrey 24th in the national ranking and first within the MSG, marking a significant climb from 73.4% and 37th place nationally as of April 2023. Since then, there have been additional improvements in performance.
  • The force has introduced a range of measures to deal with this recommendation, including an additional Superintendent overseeing initial public contact and work around Right Care Right Person (RCRP). They are reporting directly to Head of Contact and Deployment. Furthermore, the new telephony system – Joint Contact and Unified Telephony (JCUT) – was introduced on 3 October 2023, enabling an enhanced Interactive Voice Response (IVR), directing callers to the right departments and also introducing call backs and better reporting on productivity. The force continues to work with the suppliers to maximise the opportunities the system provides, enhancing the service the public receive and increasing call handler capacity.
  • In October, Surrey Police introduced a new scheduling system called Calabrio, which integrates with JCUT to enhance the prediction of call demand and ensure staffing levels are appropriately matched to this demand. This initiative is still in its initial phase, and the system has yet to accumulate a comprehensive set of data. Efforts are ongoing to enrich the system’s data week by week, aiming to refine how demand is managed. As the system becomes more data-rich over time, it will contribute to a more accurate profile of public contact demand for Surrey Police. Additionally, the integration of Vodafone Storm will facilitate the delivery of emails directly to Contact Agents, offering more insights into demand patterns and the efficiency of service delivery.
  • A “Resolution Pod” went live in the Contact Centre (CTC) on 24 October 2023, to ensure that calls are dealt with more efficiently. The Resolution Pod is aimed at working smarter to reduce the number of checks needed initially, allowing for shorter times on calls and therefore freeing up operators to answer more. For example, for lower priority deployments, admin work can be sent to the resolution pod for progression. The number of operators working in the Resolution Pod flexes depending on demand.
  • From 1 November 2023, Force Incident Managers (FIM) took over line management of the CTC supervisors, enabling more effective management of demand and visible leadership. A daily grip meeting chaired by the FIM with supervisors from CTC and Occurrence Management Unit (OMU) / Incident Review Team (IRT) was also introduced. This provides an overview of performance over the last 24 hours and helps identify pinch points in demand over the upcoming 24 hours to better manage productivity during those key times.

RECOMMENDATION 2 – Within three months, Surrey Police should reduce the number of non-emergency calls that the caller abandons because they are not answered.

  • The reforms implemented in the Contact and Training Centre (CTC) have resulted in a significant reduction in the call abandonment rate, decreasing from 33.3% in October to 20.6% in November, and further to 17.3% in December. Additionally, the success rate of callback efforts in December reached 99.2%, which effectively reduced the abandonment rate even further, from 17.3% to 14.3%.
  • As per Recommendation 1, the implementation of an improved telephony system has significantly enhanced the efficiency of callbacks and facilitated the redirection of calls directly to the appropriate department. This ensures that calls bypass the Contact and Training Centre (CTC), allowing operators to handle a greater volume of incoming calls and increase their productivity. In conjunction with the new scheduling system, Calabrio, this setup is expected to lead to better demand management. As Calabrio accumulates more data over time, it will enable more precise staffing, ensuring that sufficient personnel are available to match call volumes at the right times.
  • From the beginning of February monthly performance meetings will be held by the Performance Managers with FIMs and Supervisors, to enable them to manage their teams using the data now available from JCUT. 
  • The Resolution Pod has been introduced with the aim of decreasing the amount of time 101 call takers spend on the phone. By resolving issues more efficiently, this initiative is intended to make call takers available for additional calls, which should contribute to a reduction in the call abandonment rate.
  • As part of managing staffing numbers which is critical to performance, the force have examined CTC sickness to ensure this is being managed as effectively as possible. A two weekly sickness management group, managed by the chief inspectors with HR, has been established and will feed into a monthly capability meeting with the Head of Contact and Deployment.  This will ensure focus and understanding of the key issues within CTC so that appropriate measures can be put in place to manage people and numbers of staff.
  • Surrey Police are engaged with the Communications Lead for the NPCC Digital Public Contact Programme. This is to explore new digital options, understand what good performing forces are doing and to build contact with these forces.

RECOMMENDATION 3 – Within six months, Surrey Police should make sure that repeat callers are routinely identified by call handlers.

  • On February 22, 2023, Surrey Police transitioned to a new Command and Control system named SMARTStorm, replacing the previous system, ICAD. This upgrade introduced several improvements, notably the ability to identify repeat callers by searching for their name, address, location, and telephone number.
  • However, operators currently need to conduct additional searches to fully understand the details concerning the callers and any vulnerabilities they may have. For insights into repeat incidents, operators must access either SMARTStorm or another system, Niche. To enhance the accuracy of audits and identify non-compliance, the force has proposed the addition of a feature in SMARTStorm. This feature would indicate when an operator has accessed the previous history of a caller, facilitating targeted learning and training interventions. The implementation of this tracking feature is anticipated by the end of February and is expected to be incorporated into the performance monitoring framework.
  • By December 2023, Surrey Police had modified the contact question set to ensure that operators are effectively identifying repeat callers and conducting thorough due diligence. The Quality Control Team (QCT) is monitoring this process through random checks to ensure adherence to the new standards, with non-compliant individuals being held accountable. This focus on identifying and managing repeat callers is also being emphasized in training sessions. Furthermore, once the RCRP (Repeat Caller Reduction Program) is launched, these verification steps will become a standard part of the procedure.

RECOMMENDATION 4  – Within six months, Surrey Police should attend calls for service in line with its own published attendance times.

  • Surrey Police has undertaken a comprehensive review of its grading system and response times, with the primary goal of enhancing the quality of service delivered to the public. This review involved wide-ranging consultations with both internal and external Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), leads from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), the College of Policing, and representatives from leading police forces. These efforts culminated in the establishment of new response time targets for Surrey Police, which were officially approved by the Force Organisation Board in January 2024. Currently, the police force is in the process of determining the exact dates for implementing these new targets. This preparatory phase is critical to ensure that all necessary training, communication, and technical adjustments are comprehensively addressed and fully in place before the new response time targets are officially implemented.
  • The delivery in December 2023 of the Contact Performance Dashboard allows “live” access to call data not previously available, a significant technological improvement. This automatically highlights performance risks to the FIM, such as flagging each dispatch timeframe, deployment close to and then in breach of targets, deployable figures and average deployment times over each shift. This data enables the FIM to dynamically manage deployment decisions to mitigate performance risks in parallel with operational risks. In addition, the introduction of the daily grip meetings (started on 1 November 2023) provides early oversight of demand to manage incidents and deployment more effectively.

RECOMMENDATION 5 – Within six months, Surrey Police should make sure there is effective supervision of deployment decisions within the control room.

  • JCUT identifies free call takers to improve performance and free up Supervisors. The delivery of the Contact Performance Dashboard in December has enabled the Contact SMT to set new performance standards for the FIMs. This is supported by the increase in December of an additional FIM during peak demand periods. The expectations being set are that the supervisor will review every downgraded or held incident, alongside every incident where our stated response time is not met. Performance standards will be monitored by the SMT through the contact performance meetings to ensure the standards are being met and maintained.

AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT 1 – The force is too often failing to record sexual offences, particularly sexual assault, and rape crimes.

  • Training on ASB, rape and N100 recording has been provided to all 5 rotas of the CTC and the TQ&A have been reviewed and amended to assist with correct crime recording. To ensure compliance internal audits are now routine, with December showing a 12.9% error rate for current N100 crimes, a significant improvement from the 66.6% error rate in PEEL inspection findings. These have been amended and staff educated. The Public Protection Support Unit (PPSU) now review all ‘Newly Created’ Incident of Rape (N100’s) to ensure Crime Data Integrity (CDI) compliance both with N100 process and identifying potential missed crimes, learnings are feedback.
  • A CDI Power-Bi product that identifies the following: Rape and Serious Sexual Assault (RASSO) occurrences with no ‘stats classification’, RASSO occurrences with multiple victims, and RASSO occurrences with multiple suspects, has been developed. A performance framework has been created and agreed with Divisional Commanders and Head of Public Protection. Responsibility for complying with the CDI requirements and rectifying issues will sit with divisional performance Chief Inspectors and the Sexual Offences Investigation Team (SOIT) Chief Inspector.
  • The force is engaging with the top 3 performing forces (as per HMICFRS Inspection gradings) and MSG forces. This is to identify the structures and processes these forces have in place in order to achieve high levels of CDI compliance.

AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT 2 – The force needs to improve how it records equality data.

  • The Head of Information Management is leading the activity to improve how the force records equality data. Terms of reference for the activity have been completed and will allow the force to track completion of improvements and ensure improvements are sustained. For immediate compliance the ethnicity recording levels across Commands is being extracted for examination as a standing Force Service Board (FSB) performance area.  The development of a Niche Data Quality training product is underway with rollout to commence in March 2024 for all Niche users. A data quality Power Bi product has been requested for development.

AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT 3 – The force needs to improve how it records crime when antisocial behaviour is reported.

  • During December 2023 briefing sessions were conducted with the CTC staff in relation to the crimes that may be within an ASB call and the crime types which are regularly missed: Public Order – Harassment, Public Order – S4a, Protection from Harassment Act, Criminal Damage & Malicious Comms. A full audit is being conducted in late January 2024 to assess the impact from the CTC training. In addition to the CTC training, ASB inputs will be covered in the next round of Neighbourhood Policing Teams Continuous Professional development (NPT CPD) days (from January to July 2024), and in all initial Inspectors courses.
  • The TQ&A for ASB has been updated and the updated script automatically loads when a CAD is opened as any of the 3x ASB opening codes. There are now two questions on the template that check for course of conduct and other notifiable offences. The Force Audit Team conducted a review on 50 occurrences since the amendments were made and it showed the ASB TQ&A was used 86% of the time. Learnings and feedback have been provided and follow up audits will be conducted to improve and maintain compliance.
  • The force has been engaging with best practice forces, of note West Yorkshire. Surrey Police are actively scoping an on-Line CPD for all staff to access to continue learning. Surrey Police leads have reviewed the West Yorkshire training package in full and have access to key products. This will replace our current training provision, once tailored to Surrey Police and build into new learning packages.
  • A Bi-monthly ASB Performance Board was established in January to drive improvements in ASB recording and action taken. The board will bring accountability and oversight of all departments involved in ASB into a single board with responsibility for driving performance. The board will have oversight of tackling issues identified in quarterly audits and will drive compliance of staff through highlighting good performance and challenging poor performance. The board will drive activity to reduce hidden crime within ASB incidents and will be the forum for Divisional attendees to share ASB best practice across Boroughs and Districts.

AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT 4 – The force should regularly inform the public how, through analysis and monitoring, it understands and improves the way it uses force and stop and search powers.

  • The force continues to hold quarterly Stop & Search and Use of Force meetings, record meeting minutes, and a matrix for tracking allocated actions. In order to inform the public the meeting minutes from the quarterly External Scrutiny Panel and Internal Governance Board meetings are uploaded onto the force website, under bespoke interactive tiles that can be found under the dedicated Stop & Search and Use of Force tile on the front page of the Surrey Police website.
  • The force has added disproportionality data to both the Stop & Search and Use of Force one-page PDFs on the external website. The quarterly performance product which outlines detailed rolling year data in the form of tables, graphs, and written narrative is also available on the force website.
  • The force is considering more proactive ways of informing the public of this data through other media that will have further reach. The next phase of the AFI is being considered on how we use this data to improve our use of stop and search powers and publish this to the public.

AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT 5 – The force doesn’t consistently achieve appropriate outcomes for victims.

  • In December 2023, Surrey’s charge rates rose to 6.3%, up from the annual average of 5.5% observed in the preceding 12 months. This increase was documented in November on the IQuanta system, which showed a rapid climb from the previous year’s rate of 5.5%, approaching a three-month trend towards 8.3%. Specifically, the charge rate for rape cases has improved to 6.0% as reported on IQuanta, boosting Surrey’s ranking from 39th to 28th place in just one month. This indicates a significant enhancement in Surrey’s legal proceedings, especially in handling rape cases.
  • The Falcon Support Team is now in place and the intention is for this team to audit divisional crimes, identify and understand common themes and issues and address them through bespoke interventions. To provide an assessment of investigation quality and investigator/supervisor capability a workload review of the Domestic Abuse Teams (DAT) commenced on 3 January 2023 and is expected to take 6 weeks to complete. Results will be remitted to the Falcon Investigation Standards Board.
  • This board will also drive innovative practice which will improve outcomes for victims. An example of this is a Chief Inspector who is currently leading on facial recognition for the force and is producing a plan with the objective of increasing use of PND facial recognition software for CCTV images. The use of PND facial recognition provides an opportunity for Surrey Police to increase the number of suspect’s identified, leading to more positive outcomes for victims.  In addition the review of shoplifting identified that the main reason for a case being filed was CCTV not being provided by the business. Further analysis is now taking place to identify stores who are frequent victims and have a poor rate of CCTV return. Bespoke plans to overcome their specific issues will then be devised.
  • To improve the use of Community Resolutions (CR) a CR and Crime Outcomes manager (CRCO) is now in post and in the interim the authority of a Chief Inspector is required for all CRs. All CRs are reviewed by the CRCO manager to ensure policy compliance. A review will be conducted in February 2024 to assess improvements.
  • Through January a Crime Quality Improvement Plan is being launched to focus on specific crime quality areas. This includes areas such as filed with no outcome, allocation to the wrong team and ensuring the right outcome is recorded.

AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT 6 – Where it is suspected that an adult with care and support needs is being abused or neglected, the force should safeguard them and carry out a thorough investigation to bring perpetrators to justice to prevent further harm.

  • The Adult at Risk Team (ART) has been operational since 1 October 2023, and it has now been agreed that the ART pilot will be extended until the end of March 2024. This will provide an opportunity to gather more evidence to support and test proof of concept, particularly relating to investigative standards concerning Adult Safeguarding.]
  • In November 2023 the ART took part in and attended the Adult Safeguarding Conference during Adult Safeguarding Week which had a reach to 470 members of emergency service and partner agencies. This event provided an excellent means for highlighting the work of the ART and to promote the importance and benefits of joint investigation or joint working. The ART has been actively supported by the Independent Chair of the Surrey Safeguarding Adults Executive Board, the ASC Chief Operating Officer, the Head of Safeguarding and Heads of Integrated Care service.
  • Since the introduction of the ART team the force are seeing improvement in relationships with divisional staff and central specialist teams. This demonstrates improvements in investigative standards and are also identifying themes concerning lack of understanding, which will be progressed.
  • In the current system, the Arrest Review Team (ART) holds a daily meeting from Monday to Friday at 10 am, known as the ART Triage Meeting. During this meeting, the team decides how to proceed with each investigation. The options are:
  1. Take over the entire investigation and assign it to an ART officer;
  2. Keep the investigation with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) or Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) but with the ART actively managing, supporting, and intervening;
  3. Leave the investigation with the CID or NPT, with the ART only monitoring the progress.

    This process ensures that each case is handled in the most appropriate manner, leveraging the ART’s oversight capabilities while involving other departments as necessary. The daily triage has proved hugely successful in enabling the ART and building confidence of decision makers. However, as of the 15 January 2024, the ART have been trialling a refined model. The daily triage has been replaced by a morning lighter triage between the ART Detective Sergeant (or representative) and one member of the PPSU who is responsible for collating the previous 24 hours (or weekend) AAR occurrences. The purpose of the change is to improve efficiency and to test a different approach within the pilot period. In addition, a Niche Workflow for the ART is being created which will make it easier for the DS to allocate work.

AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT 7 – The force needs to do more to understand the workforce’s well-being needs and tailor accordingly.

  • The force has recognised the need for an Operational focus on Wellbeing alongside the previous focus on treating symptoms, such as Occupational Health. The Wellbeing response will include an operational focus with a Chief Superintendent leading on Operational Wellbeing. The first areas for review are caseloads, supervision and 121 with line management – to support a more positive work-life balance within teams.
  • The force has been working on improving wellbeing with the Oscar Kilo Blue Light Framework. Information from the completion of the Blue Light Framework will feed into Oscar Kilo and can provide dedicated support based on the assessment from the information submitted. A plan is being drawn up on how to improve on the weaker areas identified.
  • The results from the Internal Employee Opinion Survey are expected in February 2024. Following review of the survey results a pulse survey will be developed to provide further insight into what the workforce needs to support their wellbeing and the offerings the force can provide.
  • In November the review of all psychological screening offering started. The review will help identify gaps and ensure the force is offering quality over quantity and best value for money. In addition, the plans to improve wellbeing include creating a log of issues and actions to show the force listens and then responds to staff concerns.

AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT 8 – The force needs to do more to instil confidence within the workforce in reporting discrimination, bullying and racist behaviour.

  • The Director of People Services is leading the activity to instil confidence within the workforce in reporting discrimination, bullying and racist behaviour. The Internal Employee Opinion Survey results are expected in February 2024 and will add further insight on the impact of this and identify any hotspots, areas or groups of people. Insight from the internal staff survey, together with the details of the HMICFRS workforce survey will be complemented with qualitative focus groups.
  • A review is being undertaken of all avenues staff can report discrimination, to determine whether there are any other ways to capture reports or whether a push on publication is required.  Alongside this, data streams and information that Staff Support networks collect will be looked at, for a central overview of what is being shared by our staff. The review of how discrimination is reported will highlight any gaps and allow the force to consider what the barriers are for people coming forward.  A comms plan may be needed to reinforce the routes already in place. 
  • An Operational Skills Course for First Line Leaders is being designed. This will include an input on having challenging conversations and a narrated PowerPoint to use in briefings and CPD, highlighting personal responsibility to report and the importance of challenging and reporting improper conduct.

AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT 9 – The force needs to better understand why officers and staff, and in particular new recruits, wish to leave the force.

  • Since PEEL the force have made changes including a single point of contact for all Student Officers. In addition, there is now a dedicated Inspector to meet all staff indicating challenges linked to potential resignation, in order to offer tailored early support. This is fed into the Capacity, Capability and Performance Board (CCPB) for a strategic focus. 
  • A review is underway to reduce the quantity of work required for academic routes following feedback of these challenges. Work has begun on developing the new entry route, Police Constable Entry Programme (PCEP), which will be introduced May 2024. Staff seeking to move to a new programme are monitored and recorded by the Assessment and Verification team.
  • The timing of the pre-joiner webinar is being looked at to run before contracts are offered to ensure that candidates are fully aware of what is expected of the role before accepting. This will allow candidates to reflect on what is being presented on the aspect and expectations of the role before accepting an offer.
  • Stay conversations are in place and available to all officers and staff who are thinking of leaving the force. Further communications to encourage staff to request a stay conservation have been published. All police officers and staff who leave the force receive an exit questionnaire, with a 60% return rate for Police officers and 54% for staff. The primary reason reported for Police Officers leaving is work life balance and the secondary reason is workload.  For Police Staff the reasons recorded are related to career development and better financial packages. This increases the understanding of the reasons staff leave and provide areas to focus. Consideration is now ongoing for a force status update on wellbeing informed by these areas. This would then be used to drive the “upstream” operational response.

AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT 10 – The force should make sure its performance data accurately reflects the demand placed on its workforce.

  • The Force investment in a Strategic Insights Team has advanced our progress against this AFI since the inspection. The delivery of the first products by the team, is evidence of an enhanced understanding of demand and work, supported by governance which will ensure that the products will continue to be delivered and evolve.
  • The Head of Business Intelligence Team and Strategic Insights Team Manager were appointed in December 2023. The Business Intelligence Team wider recruitment is now live and will further increase capacity for both the Developer and Analyst roles to support force Strategic Insights.
  • The capacity of the Strategic Insights Team is increasing and the main focus for December was Contact. This led to the delivery of the Contact Dashboard which captures previously unavailable live data and allows demand planning to be driven by data. The next phase is to deliver Dashboards merging HR data with Niche data. This will allow rota level performance issue to be identified for the first time with accuracy. This is expected to be one of the key factors in improving performance from the ground up.
  • The early work of the Strategic Insights Team includes the introduction of a Crime Quality Improvement Plan in January. This is set within 3 months to dramatically improve the accuracy of performance data as a first stage to effective mapping of demand.

AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT 11 – The force should make sure it is effective at managing demand and can show it has the right resources, processes or plans to meet demand across the force.

  • In order to deliver Our Plan which has been developed by the Chief Officer team following the appointment of our new Chief Constable a full review of the force operating model has been commissioned. This will build on the work of the Crime Quality Improvement Plan to provide accurate performance data to support decisions on resourcing, processes or plans to meet demand. The early results of our improved accuracy on data has included realigned of high risk crimes from frontline teams to PIP2 Investigation teams. It is anticipated by April 2024 the improved accuracy will have an improved reflection of demand across appropriate teams as a building block to our new Operating Model.

Lisa Townsend
Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey