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#033/2010 – Surrey Police Authority is ‘performing well’

Surrey Police Authority is ‘performing well’, according to a new report released today by the Audit Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

On a scale from one to four, the joint inspection team assessed the Authority’s performance as ‘three’, which represents good performance.

Inspectors found that Surrey Police Authority has helped improve policing in Surrey. It sets a clear direction to the Chief Constable to put ‘Surrey Public First’ in all that he does. The Authority has an excellent and effective working relationship with the Force. This has helped them take some difficult decisions together, such as reorganising management structures to prepare policing in Surrey for the future. The Authority effectively scrutinises the performance of the Force, which is high-performing in most areas of policing. The Authority works very well in local partnerships, but now needs to accelerate its work to share more services with neighbouring forces to deliver further financial savings.

Surrey Police Authority comprises 17 members (9 councillors and 8 independent members), and is responsible for securing an efficient and effective police force for Surrey and holding the Chief Constable to account.

The Audit Commission’s Paul Chambers, spokesperson for the joint inspection team, said: “The Chair and members of the Police Authority, and the staff it employs, are highly capable and the Authority gives clear direction to the Force. The Authority is well organised and has been influential in improving policing in Surrey. Its good financial planning and strong record in making savings is helping the Force face the current tough financial climate. For example, the Force has already reduced the number of managers and made frontline policing more efficient.”

Strengths include:

  • The Authority’s effective influence is improving policing for local people. Crime is low and this has been achieved while keeping costs lower than in many other forces.
  • Good leadership is used to set clear policing priorities. These are based on a strong understanding of value for money and local people’s views.
  • The Authority is organised and managed effectively, and is able to hold the Force to account.

Areas for improvement include:

  • The Authority still needs to set a clear strategic direction for future collaboration with other South East forces. This will help to secure greater savings and efficiencies.
  • As a publicly accountable body, the Authority needs to better ensure that its formal decision-making and scrutiny responsibilities are carried out in public.
  • The Authority should continue to challenge the Force in order to accelerate improvement in some aspects of public satisfaction and detection rates.

Following today’s report Surrey Police Authority will plan what it needs to do to improve its services to meet the changing needs of its communities.

Copies of the report are available from Surrey Police Authority or from the Audit Commission website at www.audit-commission.gov.uk and the HMIC website /Inspections/Pages/PoliceAuthorityInspections.aspx.

ENDS

Notes to editors

  1. Surrey Police Authority is one of 43 police authorities in England and Wales. It is responsible for securing an efficient and effective police force for Surrey and holding the Chief Constable to account.
  2. Police authority inspection provides a simple report in a straightforward way about how well each police authority is performing. It encourages police authorities to focus on continuous improvement and provides a robust independent challenge to stimulate positive change. Ultimately it is about working to improve the quality of services police authorities provide to local people.
  3. The Audit Commission is an independent watchdog, driving economy, efficiency and effectiveness in local public services to deliver better outcomes for everyone.
  4. Our work across local government, health, housing, community safety and fire and rescue services means that we have a unique perspective. We promote value for money for taxpayers, auditing the £200 billion spent by 11,000 local public bodies.
  5. As a force for improvement, we work in partnership to assess local public services and make practical recommendations for promoting a better quality of life for local people.
  6. Further information about the Audit Commission: www.audit-commission.gov.uk
  7. HMIC is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest and rigorously examines the effectiveness of police forces and authorities to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence.
  8. Further information about HMIC: http://www.hmic.gov.uk

For more information, or for an embargoed copy of the full report, contact Callum Collins at the Audit Commission on 0844 798 8844 or ca-collins@audit-commission.gov.uk (e-mail address, 41 kB).