Surrey Police has significantly improved despite government cuts and a falling victim satisfaction rate after it made more efficient use of frontline staff, a police watchdog has said.
The force was rated ‘good’ by inspectors from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) last week – an improvement on its grade of ‘requires improvement’ last year.
The watchdog found Surrey Police was effective, efficient and legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime, in a report published on Thursday, March 2.
But the force does not completely understand the scale and nature of the public’s demand for its resources, still needs to improve its response to ‘less serious’ crime, and better target perpetrators of domestic abuse, the watchdog found.
Victim satisfaction with the force also dropped from 86 per cent in the 12 months to March 2015 to 81 per cent the following year, and as of April 2016, more than a quarter of calls were going unanswered.
The force does, however, collaborate effectively and efficiently with other forces and organisations, treats the people it serves, and its workforce, with fairness and respect, the report stated.
Surrey Police has also improved its response to serious and organised crime and has the specialist capabilities necessary to prepare for national threats.
The force has to cut 234 civilian staff posts and 32 police officers to offset the impact of £25million of Conservative cuts by 2019. Consequently, the HMIC found that the force was not fully staffed at the time of inspection.
In a bid to make remaining staff more effective, remaining officers will be borough-based, with each ward having its own Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) to deal with criminal issues. The HMIC found that this enabled Surrey Police to move resources to meet local demands and tackle the highest priority problems.
Chief Constable Nick Ephgrave (pictured above) said: “We have and continue to work incredibly hard to ensure that we are providing a consistent service to the Surrey public, whether that is the investigation of a missing child, tackling recurring anti-social behaviour or proactively targeting serious and organised crime.
“Putting victims at the centre of our investigations is a key focus for us, making sure they are kept well informed, feel supported and are safeguarded from future harm.
“Whilst we know that there is more to be done to achieve our vision of making Surrey the safest county it can be, I’m pleased that all the work we’re doing to achieve this is starting to prove effective, but we are not complacent.”
To read the report, visit: http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/peel-assessments/peel-2016/surrey/