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 Latest News & Updates                                April 2023

Commissioner Lisa Townsend

Commissioner marks International Women’s Day at events in Westminster

Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend and Deputy Commissioner Ellie Vesey-Thompson hold up International Women's Day materials

Commissioner Lisa Townsend joined a gathering of prominent women at a special reception in Downing Street last month to mark International Women’s Day.

Lisa was invited to No10 to celebrate her contribution to tackling violence against women and girls, that includes working closely with victim services and providing more funding to prevent harm and address perpetrator behaviour in Surrey.

She said: “Tackling violence against women and girls is at the heart of my Police and Crime Plan and I am committed to make a real and lasting difference when it comes to this appalling crime.

“Over the course of the financial year, I have directed around £3.4million in funding towards this issue, including a £1million grant from the Home Office that will be used to support Surrey’s schoolchildren in their Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) lessons.

“I will continue to work with our partners to create a county that is not only safe but feels safe for women and girls."

Commissioner Lisa Townsend at the Women's Aid Public Policy Conference in London.
The reception in Downing Street follows the Commissioner’s attendance at the Women’s Aid Public Policy Conference in March (pictured above), where she joined experts to discuss the support for survivors of domestic abuse.
Coming up...

11 April -
Westway Caterham Residents' Meeting
18 April - Surrey Police and Crime Panel Meeting
23 April - Surrey Police Family Open Day

 02 May - Commissioner speaking at the Cannabis Europa Conference London 
Support for victims

The Surrey Police Victim and Witness Care Unit is funded by our office to help victims of crime cope and, as far as possible, recover from their experience.

Advice and support is offered to every victim of crime in Surrey, for as long as they need it. You can also request support from the team any time after a crime has occurred.

Specialist staff will then help identify and signpost services that are best suited to your unique situation, all the way to working alongside Surrey Police to ensure you are kept updated with the progress of a case, are supported through the criminal justice system and afterwards.

Use the link to learn more or call the Unit direct on 01483 639949 (8am to 7pm Monday to Friday).


Victims minister visits Surrey to discuss convictions drive for rape and other sexual offences

Commissioner Lisa Townsend has met with the Minister for Victims and Sentencing to discuss a national operation dedicated to driving up convictions for rape and other sexual offences.

Edward Argar MP travelled to Surrey Police’s Guildford HQ to speak with the Commissioner alongside Deputy Chief Constable Nev Kemp and new Chief Constable Tim De Meyer.

The group then visited the Surrey Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre to learn more about the work that is currently being done to support survivors.

The visit comes amid a UK-wide drive to double the number of sexual offences cases reaching court through Op Soteria, a joint initiative between police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Commissioner said: “I was pleased to host the minister and have the opportunity to highlight the work of RASASC, which is one of the services supported by my office.

“There are many wonderful initiatives that I’m proud to champion in this county, and over the past year, my office’s spend on domestic abuse services has reached more than £1.5million.

“However, it is indisputable that convictions for sexual violence in Surrey and the wider UK are shockingly low. Tragically, fewer than four per cent of survivors will see their abuser convicted.

 “We know that something has to change, and in Surrey, we’re absolutely committed to bringing more criminals to justice."

Deputy Commissioner joins Surrey Police’s women’s football team at Chelsea training ground
Deputy Commissioner Ellie Vesey-Thompson and Surrey Police's women's football team visit Chelsea FC
DEPUTY Police and Crime Commissioner Ellie Vesey-Thompson joined the Surrey Police women’s football team at Chelsea FC’s Cobham training base in February.

During the event, around 30 officers and staff from the Force – all of whom had given up their free time to attend – trained with girls’ football teams from Notre Dame School in Cobham and Blenheim High School in Epsom.

They also answered the young players’ questions and spoke about their service in Surrey communities.

Ellie, the country’s youngest Deputy Commissioner, is soon to announce a new football initiative for young people in partnership with Chelsea Foundation.

She said: “I was so pleased to join players from Surrey Police Women’s Football Team on at Chelsea FC’s training ground, where they had the chance to play alongside young female players from two Surrey schools.

“They also had brilliant chats with the young players about growing up in Surrey and their plans for the future.

“One of the key priorities in the Police and Crime Plan is to strengthen relationships between Surrey Police and residents. Part of my remit is to engage with young people, and I believe it’s crucial that their voices are heard and listened to, and that they have the opportunities they need to flourish.

“Sport, culture and the arts can be hugely effective ways to improve the lives of young people around the county. That’s why we’re preparing to announce new funding for a brand new football initiative in the coming weeks.”
In the news...
Commissioner joins Politics Live on Nitrous Oxide and cost of living

COMMISSIONER Lisa Townsend joined BBC 2's Politics Live panel in March to discuss some of the month's top stories.

During a lively 45-minute debate alongside Labour MP Fleur Anderson, Ellie May O'Hagan from the Good Law Project and the Telegraph's deputy comment editor Annabel Denham, Lisa tackled the cost of living crisis and childcare expenses.

She also argued that nitrous oxide - also known as laughing gas - is strongly linked to anti-social behaviour, telling presenter Jo Coburn that "any of the residents in Surrey" will be "used" to seeing discarded nos canisters.

"I slightly take issue with the idea that it's relatively benign because we know that actually a lot of the side effects are really quite dangerous, including potentially death," she said.

"What we're seeing is an increase in road accidents, including serious and fatal accidents, where nitrous oxide has been a factor because somebody has been driving under the influence.

"We wouldn't accept that with alcohol or other drugs, and we shouldn't be accepting it here."

The Government have since announced a plan to ban possession of Nitrous Oxide and strengthen regulations on its sale as part of it's Anti-social Behaviour Action Plan.

The Commissioner said she welcomed a focus on retailers but was concerned that banning possession would place a disproportionate emphasis on the criminal justice system including police.

She said: "Further criminalising Nitrous Oxide shifts the focus away from a partnership approach that can address community harm from multiple angles. This needs to include education, more opportunities for young people and better support for victims."

Commissioner discusses Anti-social Behaviour Action Plan with BBC Ulster
Choir hit a positive note for Surrey Cancer and Surgical Innovation Centre
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