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Surrey PEEL 2018


How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?

Last updated 27/09/2019

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.

Questions for Effectiveness


How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?


The force is very effective at making crime prevention a priority. The whole force works together to prevent crime and protect the public. This includes teams dedicated to missing people, safeguarding victims and restorative justice.

The force’s overall approach to neighbourhood policing is excellent. Police are local experts in the boroughs where they work. They know who the local criminals are, where vulnerable people live and what resources are available. As a result, the public has more confidence in Surrey Police than any other force in the country (British Crime Survey 2018).

Despite having to cut the number of officers to save money, the force has managed to keep a team of neighbourhood specialist officers (NSOs) and PCSOs in each of its nine boroughs and two districts.

The force uses innovative initiatives to protect the public. One example is a knife crime initiative where police work with ex-offenders who mentor and educate schoolchildren on the consequences of carrying knives.

The force plans to use some of the money raised from a council tax increase to double the number of NSOs and introduce a specialist problem-solving team. By rebranding area policing teams as neighbourhood policing teams, the force encourages staff to think about crime prevention when responding to emergency calls. This promotes unity between different teams working together in the community.

The force’s ASB team has been nationally recognised for solving ASB problems in innovative ways. For example, the team has trained ASB coaches who support ASB victims and help them to be more resilient, so they are targeted less.

Detailed findings for question 1


How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?


Surrey Police is good at identifying vulnerable people and clear about its responsibility to protect them from harm. The force analyses information from different areas, such as the sexual assault referral centre, to get an accurate picture of vulnerable people in the area. This helps them identify hidden harm, such as people trafficking.

The force is good at identifying vulnerable and repeat victims when they first get in touch. However, it doesn’t always respond to incidents involving vulnerable people quickly enough to keep them safe. This is because control room staff sometimes inappropriately downgrade risk.

The force responds to domestic abuse victims in an innovative way. Specialist PCSOs attend many domestic abuse incidents. They give extra support and signposting for victims. Some act as mentors to Surrey Police officers and staff.

Sometimes, officers manipulate risk assessments so investigations are handed over to other teams. To stop this, the force will carry out a formal review.

The force has worked to improve its domestic abuse arrest rate considerably since its last inspection. In the 12 months to September 2018 the force arrest rate was 46 percent against the England and Wales arrest rate of 32 percent.

The force is good at managing offenders who share indecent images of children online. It has combined the sex offender management team and the IOM team to manage the risk from dangerous and sexual offenders in a new way.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should review its processes for assessing risk in the control room. This is to make sure risk is not being reassessed inappropriately, incidents are not downgraded too early and opportunities to safeguard vulnerable victims are not missed.
  • The force should improve how it monitors the allocation of crime to ensure that DASH risk assessment processes are used appropriately, and investigations are allocated to the most appropriately trained officers.
Detailed findings for question 3


How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?


We have previously inspected how well forces provide armed policing. This formed part of our 2016 and 2017 effectiveness inspections. Subsequent terrorist attacks in the UK and Europe have meant that the police service maintains a focus on armed capability in England and Wales.

It is not just terrorist attacks that place operational demands on armed officers. The threat can include the activity of organised crime groups or armed street gangs and all other crime involving guns. The Code of Practice on the Police Use of Firearms and Less Lethal Weapons (PDF document) makes forces responsible for implementing national standards of armed policing. The code stipulates that a chief officer be designated to oversee these standards. This requires the chief officer to set out the firearms threat in an armed policing strategic threat and risk assessment (APSTRA). The chief officer must also set out clear rationales for the number of armed officers (armed capacity) and the level to which they are trained (armed capability).

Detailed findings for question 5