Agenda item


For the Panel to raise any issues or queries concerning crime and policing in Surrey with the Commissioner.



The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (Friday 22 September).




Lisa Townsend, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner

Key points raised during the discussion:

  1. A member asked a follow-up relating to Community Sentence Treatment requirements and thanked the OPCC for sharing the reducing reoffending plan. Surrey has the highest reoffending rate of the three counties covered in the plan.  Two probation delivery units inspected last year had been declared ‘inadequate’. The member noted the view of others that the probation service should return to local control. What action could the PCC take to work with partners including the Surrey Health and Wellbeing Board to combat these issues and to mitigate the risk of a crisis of reoffending on Surrey streets? The PCC shared some of the concerns expressed about centralisation and emphasised the existing close working with the Health and Wellbeing Board. As a cohort PCCs have been clear they are willing to take on further responsibility for probation. However, Surrey has one of the smallest OPCCs in the country and the resource available to work on probation was very limited. A change from central government would be necessary in order for PCCs to be able to provide further support in this area.


  1. A member flagged the question that had been submitted on Car Meets and asked for the work with Districts and Boroughs to be explained. The Deputy PCC responded that work was taking place locally via Joint Action Groups and suggested specific local queries or concerns be raised in writing. A member requested that local Councillors are kept informed by their Borough Commanders on these issues and highlighted problems arising from frequent turnover of Borough Commanders in certain areas. The PCC assured the Panel that the importance of communication with Councillors and MPs was emphasised in a recent training event for Borough Commanders at Mount Browne.


  1. On shoplifting, a member asked about the practice of aggregating multiple shoplifting incidents where they were taking place on the same day in the same place and whether this was an appropriate way to record the crimes.  The PCC indicated that this was an operational matter for the Chief Constable but that she expected a much harder line to be taken on shoplifting in the future.  The member questioned whether national guidelines were set around the capture and management of data on shoplifting crimes and queried whether Borough Commanders considered shoplifting a priority. The PCC said that the approach was changing in line with the new Chief Constable’s priorities. When asked if the Police and Crime Plan should be updated to reflect this new priority the Commissioner responded that the Plan already covered the issue of shoplifting and that there were no plans to review or update the wording of it. A member asked whether the PCC was content with Surrey Police’s policy for tackling shoplifting and fuel station drive-offs and the mechanisms in place for reporting these crimes to the police, and asked for assurance that an effective policy was in place to ensure these crimes are investigated properly. The PCC emphasised her clear intention, and that of the Chief Constable, to take a hard line to tackling shoplifting and offered to write to the Panel with more detail on the Pegasus industry group that had been established. (Action ii)


  1. A member asked a follow-up on the question about publishing data on officers under investigation.  Surrey’s policy was not to do this although data had been published by the Metropolitan police service to increase public confidence. What was the Commissioner’s view on the level of public confidence in Surrey Police? The PCC responded that Surrey emerged as having one of the highest levels of public confidence in policing in the most recent crime survey. The PCC expressed confidence that Surrey does not have the same degree of problems as the Met police.


  1. The PCC was questioned whether an additional one-off bonus payment to officers should be considered (using the Force underspend) given the real terms pay freeze suffered by officers since 2010. The Commissioner highlighted the 7% pay increase which had been awarded and explained that the cost of any further payments would be prohibitive. Pay did not seem to be the top concern amongst officers.


  1. The issue of police community support officers (PCSOs) was raised. Concern was expressed about establishment figures and whether there were sufficient PCSOs to support community policing in rural areas. The Commissioner responded that there were now rural teams in place within which PCSOs play an important role. Recruitment of PCSOs was a problem however and panel members were urged to promote PCSO job opportunities locally.


Actions/Further information requested:

i)              Commissioner to write to the Panel to give more details on Project Pegasus and the new industry group that has been established.


Supporting documents: