Surrey PEEL 2014
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
This is the first PEEL Assessment of Surrey Police. In making this assessment I have used my professional judgment to consider the evidence available from inspections undertaken in the past 12 months.
The available evidence indicates that:
in terms of its effectiveness, in general, the force is good at reducing crime and preventing offending and is good at tackling anti-social behaviour, however it requires improvement in the way it investigates offending;
the efficiency with which the force carries out its responsibilities is good; and
the force is acting to achieve fairness and legitimacy in most of the practices that were examined this year.
In making this first PEEL Assessment of Surrey I have taken into account the challenges to policing this area.
Surrey’s proximity to London and the motorway network makes the county more vulnerable than others to travelling criminals. Its population density is much higher than the national average, and it includes some of the UK’s most affluent areas. Unemployment is low and the proportion of the workforce engaged in entrepreneurial, professional or management jobs is higher than the national average.
I have been impressed that neighbourhood policing remains at the heart of the Surrey Police’s approach. Anti-social behaviour is a priority and the force uses a wide range of effective tactics to reduce it. The force works well with partners to tackle serious offenders. There is a good victim focus within the force, and a commitment to identifying and supporting the most vulnerable victims.
It is encouraging that Surrey Police is on track to achieve the financial challenge of the spending review. It is planning for the future by taking the necessary steps today, so it is ready to meet future funding requirements.
However, I do have concerns about weaknesses in the quality of crime investigations particularly those involving victims at the highest risk of harm. There is inconsistency in supervision and a lack of resourcing and capability within investigation teams.
I was concerned about the fragmented approach and gaps in the service to some victims of domestic abuse. However, the force has made progress in improving its response to domestic abuse since then.
I also have concerns about the force’s approach to crime-recording, which is not as accurate as it should be. This includes serious sexual offences, domestic abuse and offences against children committed by adults.
Our intention is to examine leadership specifically as part of future PEEL Assessments, once criteria have been established. This will allow us to take account of the College of Policing review of leadership that is currently underway.
Over the past 12 months, there have been a number of inspections made of Surrey that have suggested a number of recurrent issues, in particular the need to improve supervision of crime investigations, especially those involving victims at high risk of harm.
I am particularly interested to see how the force responds to the areas HMIC has identified for improvement over the next 12 months.
Surrey has one county council, eleven boroughs/districts, and six clinical commissioning groups with 5 major hospitals.
It is the most densely populated county in south eastern England, with a growing population. The force works closely with Sussex Police.
The People’s Priorities: a zero tolerance policing approach; more visible street policing; victims put at the centre of the criminal justice system; the opportunity to have greater say in how your streets are policed; to protect your local policing; be uncompromising in the standards you expect from your police.
These are the priorities of the Surrey residents. Our streets belong to law abiding citizens, not to criminals and yobs. I believe passionately that Surrey can be a better, safer place if we work together to lay down the marker for the standards of behaviour we expect in our communities.
A second report