From L to R Borough Commander Joe Easterbrook, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey David Munro and Assistant Chief Constable Alison Barlow.
On Monday 27th Jan we attended the Surrey Police Policing Your Community Event held at Community and Wellbeing Centre, Sefton Rd, Longmead. The event was a 6:45pm for a 7pm start and despite the importance of the event the hall was not full. Of the chairs there were put out 3/4 were used but there was plenty of space for more chairs.
The evening started with a speech by PCC David Munro. Mr Munro is currently doing a online survey to see if residents of Surrey would be happy to pay an extra 3% on their council tax so the police allocation is 5% not at the current level of 2%. For more on this story and to take part in the survey CLICK HERE The PCC is an elected role to oversee the work of the police, they are not police commissioners, the next election is on the 7th May 2020. Mr Munro priorities is to make Surrey Police a force fit for the future. But with the current level of 1,900 offices and 1,300 support staff that is not enough and he feels we need an extra 500 more staff. This is why he wants us to pay extra in our council tax.
The highlights of last year were:
- 79 more officers on the street or in training
- Surrey Police been awarded “Outstanding by HMICFRS Report. First time ever
- £2m funding for local crime projects
- Improvement in 101 calls response times.
So what is planned for the future:
- 78 more officers in 2020/21
- Make the force fit for the future
- Focus on ASB and Road Safety
- Try to increase Surrey Police budget, It is the lowest in the country
- Increase a more visible force on the streets of Surrey
Next to talk was Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Alison Barlow. She started by telling us that Surrey Police receive on average per day 388 999 calls, 955 101 calls and 288 crimes are reported. Because of this the police don’t have the staff to cope. But again highlighted that Surrey Police received “Outstanding” in recent report.
She said the key to reducing crime is Prevention and Surrey Police are working on a central problem solving team. Their role is, after an incident, to look at what can be done to prevent this from happening again. One case mentioned was about a free climber who has caused havoc around the UK. Because of the new team he was issued an banning order which covers the whole of the UK. No other force had look to do this.
There is a new Anti Social Behaviour team looking at ways and the law to issue more ASB Orders to reduce the levels of ASB. As for the future there is a new Police HQ planned for 2024/25 in Leatherhead and the increased use of Mobile Data Terminals, saving officers the need to return to the station and more use of body cams. But again she stated the need for more officers is critical.
Before the questions it was now time for Borough Commander Joe Easterbrook to talk. He started that despite what people might feel Epsom & Ewell is still a save place to live and work. Most crime levels in the borough have dropped. The drop is Domestic Burglary and ASB is the best in Surrey. The only crime on the increase is Violent Crime , with Injury up by 5.8% and without 8.5%.
Why has crime dropped? Again this is down to the problem solving team. Looking at hotspots, Identifying and tackling the issues and recapping what can be done to prevent it happening again. The area also has new number plate recognition cameras. Most crimes committed in the borough are from people living outside the borough.
His priorities for the year are:
- More community information
- Town centre violence, working with local pubs and clubs to combat the rise in violence and using Police cadets to test for under age drinking purchases.
- Drug Dealing and county line active. Epsom was the first borough to obtain a phone number to be blocked causing major disruption to drug dealing in the area.
- Working closely with more police agencies such as NCA, Firearms, Road traffic as well as the local council. This has recently led to arrests in connection to international sex trafficking in the borough
The key to reduce crime in Epsom & Ewell is more community involvement. If you see anything suspicious report it. With more intel from the public they can build a better picture what is going on and where.
The meeting was now open to the floor to ask the panel questions. There were question ranging from what’s being done to educate drivers about bike safety, why are there so many police cars parked in the town hall car park ( this according to PCC is being reviewed and has something to do with shift patterns) and about what support will local youth project get from Surrey Police to stop funding being cut and many more but I like to highlight 3 main questions which we know are a major concern to our followers.
What is Surrey Police doing to get the street lights turned back on at night? According to the Mr Munro 2 reports have been done that indicates that there is not a linking factor to increase in crime and the lights being turned off. Borough Commander Joe Easterbrook confirmed that most burglaries happen during the day when people are out. Mr Munro added you need to address this issue with your local Surrey County Councillor.
What is Surrey Police doing about monitoring CCTV which has been paid for by Epsom & Ewell Council after recents incidents were not spotted on the system? The question was put by local councillor Alex Coley. Mr Munro admitted CCTV is not where it should be on tackling crime. Other police forces use it a lot better than Surrey. He informed us that a plan is being put together to tackle the issue BUT when asked when this will be done by he refused to give a date or a year. In fact he tried to throw this back that he is waiting for Epsom & Ewell council buy in on the plan. Which he was advised by Councillor Alex Coley he already had that and they are waiting for the date of the plan to be finished. Mr Munro quickly moved on to another question.
The final question was regarding the lack of crime solving. Crime solving results in the borough is approx as low as only 15% what is being done to tackle this? Straight away Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Alison Barlow replied we need 500 new officers across Surrey. With 288 crimes reported every day they don’t have the staff to tackle them. So they prioritise which ones they feel has a line of enquiry for them to follow. Its not perfect but they don’t have the staff. Borough Commander Joe Easterbrook stepped in highlighting that this year Epsom & Ewell will get 5-6 new staff members including new officers. BUT it is vital for the community to help with information and intelligence. What every you see if you think it doesn’t look right report it to 101. That way a picture can be formed of what areas the police need to target.
The meeting ended just after 8:30pm. My personal conclusion is it all boils down to not enough police officers on the street. Reason for this is not enough money in the budget. BUT would you pay more council tax for this to be corrected? Recently on WOIE Facebook page the overwhelming response from our followers to this question was NO.
We all need to work together to look after Epsom & Ewell. The polices role is not an easy one we can all help by making one simple call if we spot anything suspicious.
Don’t post it on social media if you see guys looking in vans or gardens CALL THE POLICE 999 if an emergency/ crime taking place or 101 to report suspicious behaviour or to report a crime. You will be amazed how much stuff is posted on Facebook but not reported. That’s why WOIE only report direct from emails sent by Surrey Police Comms Team.
We intend to work more closely with the Epsom & Ewell Beat team promoting their community events and we are planning to interview Borough Commander Joe Easterbrook shortly and we will be looking for your questions to ask him. Make sure you keep following WOIE for more information on this event.
CALL THE POLICE
999 if an emergency/ crime taking place
101 to report suspicious behaviour or to report a crime
This is our borough let’s work together to make Epsom & Ewell a safe place to live, work and visit.
For More Information or to report a crime online visit https://www.surrey.police.uk/