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The force says...

Surrey Police serves a population of 1.15 million covering an area of 642 square miles and is the most densely populated county in the south east of England. Surrey’s roads carry almost double the national average amount of traffic and its 62 motorway miles includes the busiest stretch of the M25. As well as its own policing challenges Surrey borders with the Metropolitan, Thames Valley, Hampshire, Sussex and Kent police forces with both Gatwick and Heathrow Airports also bordering the force.

Surrey hosts regular national cycling competitions following the 2012 Olympics and also boasts the best attended event in the British sporting calendar, the Epsom Derby, attracting 100,000 racegoers each year.

With 51 offences per 1,000 people, Surrey’s crime rate is 34.4% less than the England average, making Surrey one of the safest places to live in the country. In 2015/16 the force dealt with 121,477 emergency calls and 352,583 non-emergency calls. Out of these we deployed to 297,798 incidents of which 59,718 were crimes. Some 9.04% of these crimes involved a vulnerable person.  Public safety and welfare issues currently make up 30% of all incidents. To meet these demands the force has significantly invested in its Public Protection Teams with an overall increase of 81% in staffing.

To tackle the emerging operational and financial challenges that jeopardised the effectiveness and sustainability of an effective police service in Surrey, the force launched a new local policing model called Policing in Your Neighbourhoods in April 2016. This maintained police numbers and rationalised police staff roles. To continue to deliver savings the force is collaborating bilaterally and regionally.

Policing in Surrey is delivered by over 3,830 men and women with 1,944 police officers supported by police community support officers, special constables, volunteers and police staff. Surrey Police has a budget of £212.6 million.

Disclaimer: the above statement has been prepared by Surrey Police. The views and information in it are not necessarily those of HMICFRS.

HMIC says...

Surrey Police provides policing services to the county of Surrey. Surrey is generally affluent. The police force area covers 642 square miles in the south east of England. Around 1.2 million people mainly live in the urban centres which include the outskirts of Greater London, as well as several other distinct urban areas, including the towns of Guildford, Reigate, Staines and Esher. The resident population is ethnically diverse, with 10 percent from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit, socialise in, or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes major rail stations.

England and Wales is made up of over 181,000 small areas known as census output areas (OAs). These have been defined by the Office for National Statistics to group together people with similar characteristics and to include, on average, 125 households. The size of the geographical area covered by each OA varies according to the population density in different parts of the country. The largest OA in England and Wales covers 20,166 hectares, and the smallest less than 0.02 hectares. A football pitch is approximately 0.75 of a hectare.

There are 3,586 OAs in Surrey with an average size of 46 hectares which is smaller than the national average of 87 hectares. While the majority (51 percent) of OAs in Surrey are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a smaller proportion (9 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating the mixture of urban and rural localities. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Guildford and the towns of Surrey, with the largest spread across the more sparsely populated rural areas.

The advantage of analysis at output area level is that it supports a people-centred approach. Differences in the socio-economic characteristics of people who live in different OAs lead to different behaviours, including the use of public services. These differences are reflected in the information that is collected in large data sets such as the census, the Ordnance Survey (OS) point of interest data and other quasi-economic sources that have been used in this analysis.

HMIC has been working with the London School of Economics to use econometric techniques to statistically model and predict the level of reactive demands for police services in each OA in England and Wales. Using police incident data and several thousand characteristics (variables) drawn from the census data, OS point of interest data and other smaller data sets for each OA, it has been possible to predict the number of incidents for each OA and determine how challenging each OA is likely to be to police. We have also used the house prices from the Land Registry as a proxy indicator of wealth. Surrey has a median house price, based on the OAs that have had a property transaction within the last 12 months, of £446,200 which is higher than the median of England and Wales (£230,358). Surrey has 0.1 percent of its OAs within the lowest 10 percent of house prices nationally, while 75.4 percent of OAs are within the top 10 percent of house prices nationally (and 34.6 percent of OAs are within the top 1 percent). This suggests that there are very large areas of acute affluence and high house prices, with a very small proportion of lower value housing and deprivation.

The demands for police services are not the same in every area of England and Wales. Our analysis has revealed that the socio-demographic characteristics of an area influence the demands for police services in that area.

In every police force, there is a concentration of predicted demands in a small number of its OAs. Taking England and Wales as a whole the most challenging 1,811 (1 percent) of these account for 10.8 percent of all the predicted incidents.  We have designated these areas of very high challenge and found that they are characterised by a high concentration of people living, working, socialising or travelling in the area. Features which both cause and/or indicated a concentration of people include the number of commercial premises, including licensed premises, fast food premises, public transport and social deprivation. In some areas, these features are in combination.

Some 2.7 percent of the very high challenge areas nationally are in Surrey. The highest-challenge one percent of OAs in the force account for 16.6 percent of Surrey’s predicted incidents, these predicted demands are likely to occur in only 6.2 percent of the total area of the force.

Within Surrey:

  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of incidents is higher than the national level of one percent;
  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of crime is lower than the national level of one percent;
  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of anti-social behaviour is broadly in line with the national level of one percent;
  • the proportion of OAs that are very high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance at incidents is very high compared with the national level of one percent; and
  • the proportion of OAs that are very high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance at crimes is broadly in line with the national level of one percent.

As an indication of the challenge for the police to reach citizens in all parts of Surrey we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 3,586 OAs. These calculations of distance and time are based on using the road network under normal driving conditions and speeds, and indicate the size of the area and the quality of its road network.

Surrey has 102 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 14 miles (longest 40 miles and shortest 0.9 miles) and the average travel time of 26 minutes from the centre of the force to each OA are lower than the respective national averages of 17 miles and 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size of Surrey and the nature of its roads.

While the concentration of demands in a small number of locations (covering a very small area) may be helpful in focusing resources, it is not the totality of demand. The provision of services extends beyond those areas that are a very high challenge to police and includes the least challenging and most remote areas. The challenge of providing services throughout Surrey is a function of many things including the size and topography of the area, the road network and how congested the roads are. These considerations influence how police resources are organised and managed – for example, where police officers are based and their working patterns.