Surrey 2018/19Read more about Surrey
This is HMICFRS’s fifth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Surrey Police. PEEL is designed to give you information about how your local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year.
Surrey Police was inspected in tranche two and we found:
the extent to which the force is effective at reducing crime and keeping people safe is good.
the extent to which the force operates efficiently and sustainably requires improvement.
the extent to which the force treats the public and its workforce legitimately is good.
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Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
I am pleased with most aspects of Surrey Police’s performance. But the force needs to make improvements in its efficiency to provide a consistently good service.
The force is outstanding at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It engages well with its communities and partner organisations to understand and solve neighbourhood problems. It also works effectively with partners to identify and protect vulnerable people.
The force is struggling to meet demand for its services. It should gain a better understanding of current demand and how it uses and prioritises resources to meet it. This knowledge, along with a more detailed assessment of its workforce capabilities, should help it to develop strong and sustainable plans for the future.
The force continues to uphold an ethical culture and promote standards of professional behaviour well and it treats its workforce fairly.
How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?
Surrey Police is outstanding at preventing crime and prioritising crime prevention. There is a whole-force approach to problem solving and crime prevention. For example, the force has successfully used anti-social behaviour (ASB) powers to disrupt organised crime, including drug dealing across county lines.
The force is very effective at protecting the public from harm. It has police community support officers (PCSOs) specialising in areas such as domestic abuse, hate crime and disability. Police officers of any rank can consult them and use their expertise.
The force successfully collaborates to protect the public. It holds many well established partnership meetings to jointly tackle and prevent crime. Prevention staff know their allocated areas inside out and work very well together in a positive and enthusiastic way.
Overall, Surrey Police supports vulnerable victims well. But the force doesn’t always respond to incidents involving vulnerable people fast enough. It should make sure incidents aren’t downgraded inappropriately in the control room, which may put the public at risk.
The force is good at identifying people who can’t take care of or protect themselves or others from harm or exploitation.
The force has a positive approach to domestic abuse. The PCSOs’ domestic abuse car provides extra support and safeguarding advice to victims of domestic abuse from an early stage.
Surrey Police has combined the sex offender management team and the integrated offender management (IOM) team to manage the risk posed by dangerous and sexual offenders in a new way. It is also very good at managing offenders who share indecent images of children (IIOC) online.
How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?
Surrey Police has less understanding of the demand for its services than in 2017. The force knows it needs to analyse data more effectively to understand demand (including hidden demand) to better serve the public. However, it tends to rely on professional judgment instead.
In 2017, the force hired more staff. During the time of our inspection most workloads appeared to be manageable. Despite this, staff still felt they didn’t have enough resources to manage their work properly. The force sometimes inappropriately re-grades calls for its services. This could be to justify a slower response time. This may be happening because the force doesn’t have enough resources to deal with demand.
Sometimes, the force is inefficient because it avoids the risk of doing anything wrong. The force has collaborated with Sussex Police to find more efficient ways of working. It has also set up a new efficiency board to combat these problems by finding new ways of working.
How legitimately does the force treat the public and its workforce?
Surrey Police works hard to promote a no-blame, ethical, learning culture. It has set up an ethics committee, overseen by someone completely independent of the force. Not all staff fully understand regulations about notifiable associations (people in their lives who might compromise their position). The force needs to make sure everyone knows what a notifiable association is – and what to do about them.
Also, not all staff fully understand regulations on abusing a position for sexual purpose. The force is remedying this by giving supervisors clearer information and providing online training. On diversity, the Surrey Police Association of Culture and Ethnicity (SPACE) offers a mentoring scheme for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff. It has won several awards including the Excellence Award for Diversity and Inclusion at the 2018 HR Excellence Awards.
There are many innovative ways the force is supporting staff wellbeing. For example, wellbeing events show staff where they can get help and support. The force has also worked to reduce stress by making sure regular overtime isn’t seen as ‘business as usual’.
Service from the occupational health unit (OHU) needs to improve. Waiting times for staff needing help have reduced since 2017. But staff are still waiting up to a month for an appointment.
The force now uses informal ‘Focus’ discussions between staff and managers covering wellbeing, performance management and more. Staff like them, but they are informal and not recorded. That means the force can’t capture the results.
Some senior officers identify staff with potential and offer mentoring and coaching. However, this is inconsistent and only open to a few people. The force would benefit from a talent programme open to everyone.
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.
Surrey Police: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2018 – published 2 October 2018