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Latest News & Updates

June 2023

Mental health plea as care crisis 'takes officers off the frontline' 

Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend standing presenting at the National Police Chief's Council Conference on Mental Health and Policing

The crisis in mental health care is taking Surrey Police officers off the frontline – with two officers recently spending a full week with a single vulnerable person, Commissioner Lisa Townsend has warned.

During national Mental Health Awareness Week in May, Lisa Townsend said the burden of care is falling on officers' shoulders amid nation-wide challenges to provide support to the most vulnerable.

However, a new national model that will take the responsibility away from police will bring “real and fundamental change”, she said.

Right Care, Right Person, which began in Humberside, will mean that when there are concerns for a person's welfare that are linked to their mental health, medical or social care issues, they’ll be seen by the right person with the best skills, training and experience.

Lisa, the national lead for mental health and custody for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), said inappropriate mental health interventions cause "huge damage" and may be "dangerous" for a person in crisis.

During the same week, Lisa warned of the "hidden" mental health challenges faced by those who serve with police forces around the country.

It comes after a report commissioned by national charity Police Care UK found that one in five police personnel suffer with complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Lisa said: “The wellbeing of those who serve in Surrey is a key priority, both for myself and our new Chief Constable, Tim De Meyer, and for the new chair of Surrey’s Police Federation, Darren Pemble.

“We must do everything we can to support those who give so much to Surrey’s residents."

Commissioner marks two years with £9m funding announcement
The Commissioner has celebrated two years since her election with a huge funding announcement.

Since Lisa took office in May 2021, her team has secured almost £9million for key services around the county.

Members of Lisa’s Commissioning team are responsible for the dedicated funding streams that aim to increase community safety, reduce re-offending, support young people and help victims to cope and recover from their experiences.

Over the last two years that team have also successfully bid for millions of pounds of extra funding from government pots to support services and charities around the county.

In total, just under £9m has been secured, including:
  • £2m for a Domestic Abuse Hub to change abusers’ behaviour and support survivors

  • A £1m project to help prevent violence against women and girls through teacher training and a public campaign to help children and young people

  • £175k from the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund to improve safety for women and girls using the Basingstoke Canal in Woking

  • £700k  to increase safety in public spaces in areas of Woking, Epsom, Sunbury Cross and Surrey Towers, Addlestone
Lisa said: “People often focus on the ‘crime’ side of being a Police and Crime Commissioner, but it's really important that we don't forget the amazing work my office does on the ‘commissioning’ side.
“We have helped support some vital projects and services across the county that provide a real lifeline for some of our most vulnerable residents."

Coming up...
June 02 - Commissioner's online surgery

Book a slot

June 03
- Epsom Derby

June 16 - Commissioner to attending a meeting of Staines Neighbourhood Watch

June 27
- Deputy Commissioner attending the National Rural Crime Network Conference in London 

June 29 - Annual general meeting of the Police and Crime Panel
WATCH: First performance meeting held with new Chief Constable Tim De Meyer
Tim De Meyer joined the Commissioner for their first joint Accountability and Performance meeting together in May after he took over as the new Chief Constable of Surrey Police this spring.

He answered your questions on a range of policing topics including anti-social behaviour, confidence in policing, fraud and road safety.

The regular meeting forms a key part of Lisa’s role to scrutinise the service that Surrey Police provides to the county's residents, including a review of performance measures that are available to view in our new Data Hub.

You can watch the full meeting above or browse our YouTube playlist to see past videos.
Commissioner warns of rising road collisions

Lisa Townsend has warned crashes on Surrey's roads are rising following Covid lockdowns.

During a visit to Epsom for Project EDWARD - Every Day Without A Road Death - Lisa said any road can become dangerous when drivers are distracted or behind the wheel of a poorly-maintained vehicle.

During the event, police officers from the casualty reduction team and Roads Policing Unit, firefighters, the Surrey RoadSafe team and representatives from Kwik Fit engaged with young people about the importance of keeping safe on the roads.

During 2022, police recorded more than 700 collisions that resulted in a serious injury – an increase on 2021, when 646 people were badly hurt.

Road safety is a key priority in Lisa’s Police and Crime Plan and our office funds a series of initiatives aimed at keeping younger drivers safe.

As Commissioner for Surrey and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ national lead on Roads and Transport safety, she said: “Any road is a risk if a motorist is distracted or driving dangerously.

"Young people are particularly at risk from crashes, and it’s absolutely key to provide sensible, clear education on driving as early as possible."


Deputy says sports opportunities help young people to 'flourish'
Surrey's Deputy Commissioner praised the power of sport to help young people to flourish - as she spoke at an event dedicated to supporting those at risk of entering the criminal justice system.

Ellie Vesey-Thompson spoke at an event focused on tackling anti-social behaviour and better supporting children and young people.

The event, hosted by Active Surrey's event, was held to highlight the importance of community engagement with young people at risk.

Established in 1999 by Sport England and local partners, Active Surrey is a not for profit organisation, hosted by Surrey County Council. 

The organisation's Friday Night Project and Step Out to Step In programme are both supported by funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner, which granted £47,452 in 2020/21 and £80,000 in 2022/23.

Both initiatives offer sports, wellbeing and support to young people. 

The Commissioner and Deputy also recently granted £40,000 to the Chelsea FC Foundation, which will be spent providing youth programmes.

Ellie, who holds the remit of engaging with children and young people, said: "Both the Commissioner and I are passionate at getting youth voice at the heart of what we do.

"I personally believe sport is incredibly valuable, not only to divert children and young people away from anti-social behaviour, but to teach core values including teamwork and perseverance.

"Supporting children and young people to become more resilient is key to securing long-term health, both physically and mentally, and sport can play a vital role in developing this resilience."
Listening to our communities
Both the Commissioner and her Deputy spend much of their time engaging with the Surrey public.

Pictured from left, Lisa gives a talk to members of Reigate's Rotary Club about her role, Ellie joins a meeting on rural crime in Dorking, and both Ellie and Lisa meet with the Chief Constable and MPs at Mount Browne in Guildford to discuss crime and policing in Surrey.
 In the news...
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Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey
PO BOX 412, Guildford GU3 1Y

Tel: 01483 630200  Contact us by email

The Office of the Police Crime Commissioner's Office is independent from Surrey Police. Contact Surrey Police on 101, at https://surrey.police.uk or on Surrey Police social media pages. Always dial 999 in an emergency.