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Latest News & Updates

February 2024

"Police will have the tools they need to take the fight to criminals"

Commissioner Lisa Townsend said Surrey Police teams will be given the tools they need to continue to tackle the crimes that matter to residents, after her proposal for the policing part of council tax was accepted earlier this month.

The average increase of 4.2% on the amount Surrey Police will receive means the Chief Constable will be able to put his new vision for the Force into action. It includes targeting the most harmful and prolific criminals and increasing the number of people who are put before the courts.
The Commissioner thanked over 3,000 residents who informed her Proposal and left their views in her Council tax survey this winter. 
In that survey, residents said they wanted to be able to contact the Force easily and see a reduction in burglaries and anti-social behaviour - areas that are being actively addressed by the Force.

The 14 Panel members present voted on the Commissioner’s proposal with seven votes for and seven votes against. The Chair cast a deciding vote against. However, there were insufficient votes to veto the proposal and the Panel accepted the increase that will come into effect from April.

The policing element of council tax in Surrey will now be set at £323.57, which is an increase of £13 a year or £1.08 a month on a Band D property. You can see what you will pay for your property band here.

Lisa said it means that police officers will be able to focus on what they do best – fighting crime and protecting people:
"I believe that supporting our policing teams has never been more important than it is today and I need to ensure the Chief Constable has the right tools to take the fight to the criminals.

“So I am delighted that my precept proposal will go ahead  – the contributions the Surrey public make through their council tax will make a vital difference to our hard working officers and staff."

Deputy calls for catapult ban after swans are killed in Surrey

Tougher laws are needed to tackle the use of catapults on wild birds, Surrey's Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner says.

Ellie Vesey-Thompson visited the Shepperton Swan Sanctuary last month after seven birds were killed by missiles in and around Surrey since the year began.

Sanctuary volunteer Danni Rogers has started a petition calling for change on catapult legislation.

Currently, catapults are not illegal in Britain unless they’re being used or carried as a weapon. 

They are often associated with anti-social behaviour and vandalism, two issues repeatedly raised by Surrey's residents at a series of Policing Your Community events hosted by the Commissioner, Lisa Townsend, and the Chief Constable, Tim De Meyer.

Ellie, who has responsibility for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s approach to rural crime, said: “These cruel attacks on swans are deeply distressing, not only for volunteers like Danni, but for all right-minded people living in Surrey.

“I wholeheartedly believe that more legislation around catapult use is urgently needed.

“In the wrong hands, they can become silent, lethal weapons. They are also connected to vandalism and anti-social behaviour, which can be hugely significant to members of the public.

“We know this issue is important to residents in Surrey, and both the Commissioner and I are determined to see change."

Commissioner's 'report it' plea as Reigate residents gather
"If you're aware of a crime, please report it."

That's the plea from Surrey's Police and Crime Commissioner, who urged residents to report all offences via 101, at surrey.police.uk or by calling 999 at a meeting in Reigate in late January. You can also report crime on any official Surrey Police social media page including Facebook and X.

Around 30 people gathered at the town hall to speak to Lisa and local acting Borough Commander Rob Staplehurst.

Anti-social behaviour, knife crime, HGVs using Wray Lane and police visibility were among the issues raised at the meeting.

However, some attendees said they hadn't reported incidents to Surrey Police.

Lisa said: "I attend many residents' meetings across the county, and one common thread is an unwillingness to report, which is often based on the perception that police won't attend.

"Sometimes, this perception is accurate. It may not always be possible for officers to attend offences with a lower level of harm or risk, although they will always attend more serious reports, from home burglary to assaults.

"No matter what the incident is, I would urge residents to report it. Community-led intelligence allows local officers to build a picture of where offences are happening, enabling Borough Commanders to respond with measures including additional patrols."

"It's something we take very seriously"
Surrey Police is committed to tackling shoplifting and assaults on retail staff - after 20 arrests were made in a single day, the Commissioner has said.

In an interview on the BBC Radio 5 Live breakfast show, Lisa Townsend said both she and Chief Constable Tim De Meyer take the crime "incredibly seriously".

The Commissioner has recently held meetings with retailers in Dorking, Oxted, Woking and Ewell to discuss the issue and in December 2023, the Force arrested 20 suspected shoplifters in a single day.

Eight people were charged with 23 offences, 135 commercial premises were visited, and 12 previous offenders were engaged with.
The county has the lowest rate of shoplifting reports in England and Wales. However, Lisa said the offence is "not a victimless crime".
Coming up...
04 March - National Police Staff recognition week

07 March -
Deputy Commissioner attending Surrey's Annual Armed Forces Covenant Convention
08 March - International Women's Day

26 March - Woldingham residents' meeting

28 March - PCC's online surgery 
Romance turned to finance? It may be fraud

If romance has turned to finance, you could be the victim of a cruel scammer, Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner has warned.

Lisa Townsend urged Surrey residents to be wary of romance fraud after reports of the offence rose by more than 10% in a year.

Data recorded by Surrey Police’s Operation Signature – the Force’s campaign to identify and support vulnerable victims of fraud – reveals that in 2023, 183 people came forward to tell police they’d been targeted.

Victims lost £2.73m in total.

Lisa said: “This offence can be deeply personal to victims, who may feel the grief of both the crime itself and the loss of what they believed to be a genuine relationship.

“If a romantic connection has become focused on finances, it could be a sign of romance fraud. 

“To those who believe they’ve been scammed, I say to you directly: please come forward. You will not be judged or shamed by Surrey Police."

For more information, visit surrey.police.uk/romancefraud

Commissioner joins early shift in Staines

Lisa Townsend joined officers for a shift in Spelthorne late last month.

The Police and Crime Commissioner travelled to Staines on a Sunday morning to speak with officers and staff based at the town's police station.

During the shift, Lisa attended a grade two incident, which does not require an immediate police response.

She was also at the scene of an arrest.

Lisa said: "During my visit, I had the opportunity to speak with officers from a number of the different teams working out of Staines.

"These teams work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to keep Spelthorne safe.

"As a resident of northern Surrey, I want to take this opportunity thank all officers and staff for their tireless efforts."

Funding boost to support critical thinking
Students at a Woking school will learn skills that will last a lifetime after Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner approved a new grant.

STEPS to 16, which is run by the Surrey Care Trust, offers educational support to children aged between 14 and 16 who are struggling with mainstream education.

Commissioner Lisa Townsend recently approved a £4,500 grant that will boost the school’s life skills lessons for a year. The funding will enable students to develop critical thinking.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Ellie Vesey-Thompson, who leads the office on provision for children and young people, made a visit to the school last month.

She said: “STEPS to 16 ensures that students who are finding it difficult to continue with traditional education can still learn in a safe setting.

“Young people who don’t consistently attend school may well be more vulnerable to criminals, including the predatory county lines gangs which exploit children into dealing drugs.

“The funding provided for life skills lessons will encourage these students to make good choices on friendships and behaviours that I hope will last for the rest of their lives.”
Fully funded training available for PSHE teachers
We're inviting teachers in Surrey to take part in fully funded training as part of a million pound project to reduce violence against women and girls in Surrey. 

The funding secured by our Office is being used in partnership with Surrey County Council's Healthy Schools Programme, Surrey Police and the county's Domestic Abuse Partnership to provide bespoke training for PSHE teachers that will strengthen education on topics including healthy relationships and sexual health.
A key focus of the training will promote positive attitudes to reduce harm in the future.
Teachers from 27 schools have already taken part, with fresh training days set to take place on one day of each term between November 2024 and March 2025.
The package includes £180 for schools to arrange supply cover,  certification and access to all materials.
See more details and get involved using the link below:
In the news:
Recruitment advert from Surrey Police with multiple images of different police officer and staff roles with a blue overlay. Text says, What if you joined us? Find out more about a career with Surrey Police. www.surrey.police.uk/careers

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey
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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.