Agenda item


The purpose of this report is to provide an update on the findings of Surrey Police’s “Call it Out” survey’ and how the resulting data is being used to inform local activity.



Lisa Townsend, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner

Damian Markland, Head of Performance and Governance (Office of the

Police and Crime Commissioner)

Key points raised in the discussion:

1.    The Head of Performance and Governance introduced the report, explaining that the survey was launched in the period following the murder of Sarah Everard when women were sharing their experiences online. The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and the Force had other sources of data to track residents’ perception of safety as well, but the survey was useful in providing a snapshot for that current point of time.


2.    The Chairman asked about the number of detectives in the rape investigation team, the percentage of posts filled in the sexual offences team, and how many more rape cases were making it to court since the increase in detectives. The Head of Performance and Governance would provide those figures following the meeting. In terms of the team, vacancy rates were quite high as it was a competitive recruitment market. The Force had utilised agency staff to fill capacity, but this was not a sustainable position and was monitored closely. The OPCC supported people through the criminal justice process, ensuring they had access to high quality victim and witness care. The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) added that it was known that victims of rape, sexual assault and domestic abuse often withdrew support for prosecution and that supporting people whilst they awaited their case to be heard was essential, especially with current court delays. However, the position in Surrey was better compared to some neighbouring areas.


3.    A Panel Member asked about the use of the StreetSafe tool in Surrey. The Head of Performance and Governance shared that the tool provided granular insight into where issues took place.

Initially there was a large uptake and it had decreased since. The OPCC was working with the Force to try to re-advertise the tool again. They had used the data for work with victims and to support bids to government for additional commissioning funding.


4.    In response to a question on who had responsibility for streetlighting, the PCC confirmed it was Surrey County Council. The PCC stated that there was often a misconception that the decision rested with the Police, but they had no direct control over lighting, though may be consulted. A Panel Member added that the Council introduced a policy to turn off some streetlights in residential roads and residents could request for decisions to be reconsidered. If the Force supported residents’ requests, then the lights would be turned back on. The Panel Member would raise the issue again with the Leader of the Council from a county-wide perspective. The PCC shared that the Force would not disagree with residents if they wanted the lights turned on and said that any police consultation should not cause delay.

Cllr Satvinder Buttar jointed the meeting at 11:10am.


5.    Responding to a question on plans to repeat the survey and comparable figures from other Forces, the Head of Performance and Governance explained that not all other Forces ran the survey and those which did had slightly different questions, which made it difficult to make comparisons. The Force were interested in running the survey again, however, it was unlikely they would receive the same level engagement again and the benefit of the first survey had been it had helped capture the views of harder to reach groups, including young people that didn’t always engage with traditional surveys. The Panel Member also asked about measures to demonstrate whether men’s behaviour is changing. The Head of Performance and Governance shared that the OPCC had invested heavily in perpetrator schemes, related to stalking, harassment, and domestic abuse. These had created positive change; however, it was the start of the journey and a whole societal shift was required. 


6.    A Panel Member asked how the OPCC were helping to improve reporting rates for rape, harassment and sexual assault cases. The Head of Performance and Governance explained that there had been work with schools on the PSHE curriculum about what behaviour was acceptable and what was not. It was with the responsibility of all partners to ensure that residents feel empowered to call out inappropriate behaviour. The Force took this seriously, however, sometimes there were more appropriate routes for people to report such behaviour, such as through GPs, teachers or social workers. The PCC added she wanted to see an increase in reporting and highlighted the opportunities of partners such as the fire service, who entered residents’ homes.


7.    A Panel Member noted that the number of respondents seemed low. The Head of Performance and Governance explained that if the survey was unique in that it prompted a very organic response and more specific targeting would likely have skewed the sample. The survey was also pushed out quickly due to the societal context at the time.


8.    A Panel Member shared an experience of young men waiting around a train station late at night and queried whether a greater police presence would help. The PCC explained that the Force could not police for uneasiness, and it would not be the best use of their resources. It was about educating men on their behaviour so that women did not feel intimated in these circumstances.

Actions/requests for further information:

1. R24/22 – The Head of Performance and Governance to provide the quantitative information requested by the Chairman regarding detective numbers, percentage of sexual offence posts filled, and number of rape cases making it to court.



The Panel recommends:

1.    That the PCC makes an application to round 5 of the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund, and any other potential funding sources, using the StreetSafe tool and Call it Out survey findings as evidence. 


2.    That the OPCC reviews specific areas perceived as unsafe by users of the StreetSafe tool and Call it Out survey respondents and the Commissioner recommends to Surrey County Council that night-time LED streetlighting is reinstated in these locations as a priority, as the College of Policing finds violent and propertycrime reduced on average by 21% in areas where street lightingwas improved relative to areas where it was not.


3.             That the findings of Call it Out and Streetsafe are shared in full with Panel Members so their respective local authorities can lobby Surrey County Council in relation to areas perceived as unsafe.

Supporting documents: