PEEL report brands Surrey Police response times ‘inadequate’

7 Dec 2023
Paul Kennedy outside Guildford Police Station

The Lib Dems have accused Surrey’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Lisa Townsend of failing on the basics, after a damning “Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy” (PEEL) report from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) yesterday.

In his summary report, the Inspector said:

“I have concerns about the performance of Surrey Police in keeping people safe, reducing crime and providing victims with an effective service. In particular, I have serious concerns about how the force is responding to the public.

 “Surrey has a lower-than-average number of 999 calls and a comparatively low number of 101 calls. But despite this, the force doesn’t always answer emergency and non-emergency calls in a timely way. A high number of callers to its non-emergency 101 facility abandon their call. Some of these callers will contact the force by another means, such as through its online platform. Other callers will simply give up. So, crime will go unreported and vulnerable people will not be safeguarded. This was highlighted as an area for improvement during our last PEEL inspection in 2021/22, but performance has deteriorated.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Kennedy, who represents Mole Valley on Surrey’s Police and Crime Panel, has been highlighting the problems with the 101 service for 3 years. Paul said:

“No amount of spin from the PCC’s media team can disguise this dreadful inspection report. The PCC has had nearly three years to sort out the staff shortages at Surrey Police’s contact centre, but has ignored public concerns and as a result performance has deteriorated further. As recently as April this year, the PCC’s proposed solution for the 101 service was to increase the target response time from 3 minutes to 5 minutes, and to tell the public to report crimes online instead. It shouldn’t take a damning inspection report to finally force the PCC into action.”

“But the problems with the PCC’s oversight of Surrey Police go much deeper. The report found that Surrey Police ‘requires improvement’ in two further areas: recording data about crime and developing a positive workplace, which is an area that has been completely ignored in the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan, and three further areas were only adequate. In particular, the report found that reported crimes including rape were not being properly recorded, that Surrey had a low rate of solving crime, and that 11.3% of Surrey Police employees had been bullied or harassed by colleagues in the last year. Only two out of nine categories were rated good.”

 “Surrey residents pay the highest council tax in the country for our police service, and we deserve better. While the new Chief Constable has made a promising start in tackling these issues, the PCC has been failing on the basics. The PCC’s existing oversight of Surrey Police is not fit for purpose, and urgently needs to be improved.”