Skip to content

Surrey 2017

Read more about Surrey 2017

This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Surrey Police. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.

The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is not yet graded.

The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

The efficiency and legitimacy inspection findings are published below.

Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Zoë Billingham

HMI's observations

My overall assessment of Surrey’s performance will be published in spring 2018, following the publication of the effectiveness inspections in March 2018.


How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

To be graded
View the five questions for effectiveness


How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 09/11/2017

Surrey Police is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year. The force’s understanding of demand is judged to be good; it is judged to require improvement for its use of resources to manage demand; and its planning for future demand is judged to be good.

Surrey Police has a good understanding of current demand from analysing a wide range of police data and should be commended for its progressive demand analysis report which predicts demand for the next 12 months. The force has made significant progress in reducing the number of abandoned 101 calls through a thorough review of processes and the introduction of an effective quality assurance mechanism, which has also improved the quality of the service it provides in relation to all calls from the public.

The force’s ability to make effective plans for recruitment, training and personal development is sometimes hampered by gaps in its understanding of the skills and capabilities of its workforce and leaders. However, in other areas Surrey Police is good at assessing its priorities and meeting different areas of demand. It works well with other forces, particularly Sussex Police, and is seeking new opportunities for collaborative working to achieve further savings. The force is keen to exploit technological advances wherever possible. Public expectations are important to the force and it is prioritising neighbourhood policing in its operating model.

The force has good plans for the future and is seeking further opportunities to make savings; it plans to re-invest the savings it makes.

View the three questions for efficiency


How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 12/12/2017

Surrey Police is judged to be good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. For the areas of legitimacy we looked at this year, our overall judgment is the same as last year. The force is judged to be good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is also judged to be good at how well it ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. The force is judged to require improvement in some aspects of the way in which it treats its workforce with fairness and respect.

Surrey Police and its workforce have a good understanding of the importance of treating people fairly and with respect. Officers and staff understand the importance of effective communication skills and how to use coercive powers fairly and respectfully. Officers and staff understand the concept of unconscious bias and how to overcome it, despite limited training on the topic. The force works well with the independent advisory group which provides external scrutiny and advice. The force scrutinises stop and search data well, although from our review of records we found that some officers and supervisors still do not understand what constitutes reasonable grounds for stop and search. The force could do more to scrutinise data on its use of force to identify trends and learning in order to improve practice.

Surrey Police is good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. There is a strong focus on the Code of Ethics throughout the force. However, it does not have a formal mechanism for considering and discussing ethical dilemmas and policies. It also needs to review its plans to reduce its backlog in vetting its workforce to comply with the national vetting policy. Surrey Police has made it easier for the public to make a complaint and has publicised the complaints process in communities which might have less confidence in the police. However, the force needs to ensure that the workforce has a better understanding of discrimination.

Surrey Police requires improvement in some aspects of the way in which it treats its workforce with fairness and respect. The force could improve the way in which it communicates with its workforce. Leaders could do more to encourage challenge and feedback from the wider workforce, and to publicise any action it takes as a result, so that the workforce feel that Surrey Police is listening to them. The force has a range of wellbeing services but they are not as well publicised or as easy to access as they could be. It could do more to take preventative and early action to improve workforce wellbeing, and ensure that supervisors have sufficient training to recognise early warning signs and make appropriate referrals for support. Senior leaders are aware that the workforce is feeling stretched, but some officers and staff do not feel that their wellbeing is viewed as a priority. In both our 2015 and 2016 legitimacy reports, we found that more needed to be done to support staff wellbeing, as staff were reporting that they were struggling with high workloads. In 2017 we found little progress in this area has been made; supervisors had still received no training to identify wellbeing needs early, and the level of service provided by the occupational health unit has declined. The force’s approach to managing and developing individual performance remains inconsistent. Force selection processes for talent and temporary promotion are also inconsistent.

View the three questions for legitimacy

Other inspections

How well has the force performed in our other inspections?

In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMICFRS carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections (for instance, our 2016 leadership assessment); others are joint inspections.

Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.

Key facts

Force Area

642 square miles


1.16m people 9% local 10 yr change


77% frontline 78% national level
3.2 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
12% change in local workforce since 2010 15% national change since 2010

Victim-based crimes

0.04 per person 0.06 national level
Local 5 year trend (no change) National 5 year trend (no change)


49p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • Surrey is the most densely populated county in the South East, working closely with neighbouring force Sussex Police.
  • With 51 offences per 1,000 people, Surrey’s crime rate is 34.4 percent less than the England average, making it one of the safest places to live in the country.

Police and crime plan priorities

The new Police and Crime Plan for Surrey 2016-2020 was issued in August 2016 and contains 6 key priorities:

  • Cutting Crime and Keeping Surrey Safe – solving more crimes committed against vulnerable people and working in partnership to ensure safer communities
Read More
  • Supporting Victims –improving how Surrey Police look after vulnerable victims, commissioning services that support victims and preventing cyber crime
  • Tackling Rural Crime – improving the non-emergency police contact number and ensuring good communication between police and rural communities
  • Making Our Town Centres Safe – partnership activity and funding to improve feelings of safety in town centres
  • Tackling the Threat of Terrorism – reviewing local and national plans to prevent terrorism, protect and prepare Surrey for any potential attack
  • Making Every Pound Count – making savings in the office of the PCC, scrutinising local savings plans and developing a new estates strategy for Surrey Police

The full plan can be found on the Surrey PCC’s website.