Surrey 2017Read more about Surrey
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 good.
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.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
Read my assessment of Surrey Police below.
I am pleased with the performance of Surrey Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime. However, the force needs to improve in some areas to provide a consistently good service.
Since 2016 the force has made progress in the way it investigates crime, with the standard now consistently good. The force continues to provide a good service to vulnerable victims. It investigates and disrupts serious and organised crime well, working alongside Sussex Police to manage the most serious threats.
Surrey Police has a good understanding of current and future demand, and has effective plans, but it needs to develop a better understanding of the skills and capabilities of its workforce.
The force treats the people it serves with fairness and respect, and sets a clear expectation that its workforce will behave ethically and lawfully. It needs to do more to prioritise staff wellbeing and communicate with the workforce.
I commend Surrey Police for maintaining a good level of performance this year and am confident that it is well equipped to continue to demonstrate improvements.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Surrey Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime.
The force has made good progress since our 2016 effectiveness inspection, particularly in its investigations, which have improved considerably. The force’s standard of investigations is now consistently good, with comprehensive plans, effective supervision and regular victim contact in the vast majority of cases. The force’s approach to re-offending could be improved through a greater emphasis and more co-ordinated approach to apprehending people who are wanted by the police.
The force continues to be good at protecting people and supporting vulnerable victims, with the protection of vulnerable people a clear priority for all staff throughout the force. Members of staff in the force control room are able to identify vulnerable people, and officers and staff deal with incidents appropriately, putting effective safeguarding measures in place where necessary. The force has improved its response to victims of domestic abuse and has effective partnership arrangements in place, with a well-established multi-agency safeguarding hub.
Surrey Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. The force manages organised crime groups in line with national guidance, using specialist regional resources when necessary. The force is good at investigating and disrupting serious and organised crime and works well with Sussex Police as part of a collaborative arrangement to determine and manage the most serious threats to both forces. However, the force could do more to deter people from participating in organised crime, and to evaluate its activities in this area.
Surrey Police has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national responsibilities, and to respond to an attack requiring an armed response.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
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.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
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.
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; 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.
Abuse of position assessment – Surrey Police – published on 5 October 2017