Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Pickpocketing Surrey Police

Today, the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons published its report, Police Service Strength. It exposes the extent to which this government has choked local funding for police - literally pickpocketing the Surrey force.

We already knew that Surrey taxpayers pay £5.5 billion per year to the Treasury, but get back just a third of the national average level of funding for local public services. Whilst real term spending on the police has increased nationally by 19% since 1997, funding for Surrey police has been cut by 39%.

But isn't crime in Surrey low? True compared to some areas. Still, local statistics show worrying trends. Since 2001, violence against the person has doubled, harassment trebled and burglary, criminal damage and robbery are all up. Surrey is a county force grappling with metropolitan challenges - including the spillover of crime from the capital, proximity to crime (such as drugs) connected to Heathrow and even counter-terrorism functions.

Despite such challenges, today's report highlights this government's neglect. Since 1997, Surrey has had the worst deal of all 43 police forces in England and Wales, measured by central funding per person. As a result, Surrey is now the force most reliant on local council tax - as opposed to central government funds - to pay for its police. Almost a half of Surrey police funding comes from council tax, compared to just over 10% reliance in Northumbria. And, critically, Surrey is one of 13 forces to see police officer numbers fall since 2004, as resources have been siphoned off elsewhere.

Given that financial climate, Surrey police have held up reasonably well. The current review of policing in the county proposes slashing bureaucracy, consolidating senior management and even station closures - in order to put 200 more officers on the street. Today's report gives a further indication of where Surrey police should be looking to make the savings required. Whilst officer numbers have fallen by 2% since 2004, overall staff numbers have risen by a quarter. It suggests too much money spent on backroom functions - and not enough supporting officers on the frontline. That must change.


Anonymous said...

Can we begin by reminding the police what they're for? I would like the police I pay for to devote their time to preventing violence, burglary, robbery, etc, NOT enforcing social engineering policies or pushing out propaganda aimed at making us FEEL safer (out of interest, what IS their PR budget?). We could start by painting out that ridiculous slogan 'With you making Surrey safer' slogan on their cars, and insisting they only enforce speed limits they're willing to stick to themselves.

Post a Comment

The site policy is to publish all comments, unless abusive or anonymous.

Welcome to Dom's Blog

To sign up for my monthly bulletins, click here.

For my Privacy & Cookies policy, click here.

Dom's Podcasts

Watch Dom's Hardtalk interview here.

To watch Dom's recent podcasts, visit his You Tube channel here.

Local Campaigns

Local issues, National debate

Blog Archive

Follow Dom on Facebook