Surrey PCC – We Must Invest in the Police if they are to Evolve to Meet New Challenges

Responding to the College of Policing report on police demand released today, Kevin Hurley, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, said:

“The College of Policing’s report into demand is another insight into the challenge Chief Constables and PCCs are facing to evolve their police forces to deal with new and changing demands. The job of policing has never been more complex than it is today, tactically, technologically and culturally.

“I’m trying to do my bit to get the first-class police service that people tell me they want. We all know that policing must change with the times. That requires investment. The officers and staff out there are fantastic, but they are being worked into the ground as their numbers reduce and they increasingly face complex issues like online child abuse, domestic violence and human trafficking with minimal training.

“I’ve lobbied Ministers personally to do the right thing and merge police forces, which would release the £2bn currently spent on 41 different HQs, Chief Officers and PCCs. What a waste. Mergers would free up all that money to go on the front line policing people actually want. The Government won’t do it.

“The Home Office says a review of police funding allocations is coming. In 2013 I commissioned independent research from experts at Oxford Economics which showed Surrey is losing out on as much as £6m in funding every year that it needs to meet demand. This research put forward realistic solutions to better allocate police funding nationally to where it is really needed. It’s been on a Home Office desk for a year now.

“I’ve raised Surrey’s funding issues with our local Members of Parliament for two years. Nothing has changed.

“The Government isn’t willing to invest in our safety so I’m asking our residents direct what they think about paying a bit more each week for their local police force, to allow us to:

– Recruit up to 400 extra officers for Surrey

– Make sure our officers and staff are the best trained in the country

– Hunt down online paedophiles

– Crack down on online fraudsters targeting the elderly and vulnerable

– Respond more quickly to emergency calls for help

– Tackle violent extremists

“I love to see bad people being locked up and victims getting justice. I hate it when criminals offend, when they get away with things, when innocent people are hurt and exploited.

“Investing more in policing would make us all safer. It would make life a lot better for us decent people and a whole lot worse for the fraudsters, paedophiles, burglars, thugs and would-be terrorists.

“Surrey Police get a share of local council tax and I’m asking if we would be prepared to pay a bit more – around £1 extra per week for a band D home – to make our county’s police force the best resourced, best trained in the country. That would take the Band D weekly cost of policing from £4 per week to £5 per week. That’s £5 per week for a service that, if you or any of your family are in danger will come to your aid – even at the most tremendous risk – at any time of the day or night; a service that works around the clock to get the most dangerous people in our society off the streets and into prison; a service that offers protection, reassurance and support to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“To do so, I would have to hold a referendum of all the voters in Surrey. Before I commit to the expense of that, I want to know if you would support the idea. The economic downturn has hit everyone and I know it’s a considerable ask for families to pay more. It may well be that people don’t feel able to make that extra contribution. As elected Police and Crime Commissioner I’m here to make sure that it’s the public who ultimately call the shots on the big decisions on the future of their police force.

“So, I ask you to think about what it would mean to you and those you care about if we came together as a community to put some serious investment into Surrey Police and visit to fill out the brief survey to tell me what you think.”

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