Fringe Box



Letter: The PCC Acts as Police Spokesperson But Offers Little Else

Published on: 14 Sep, 2020
Updated on: 14 Sep, 2020

From: Martin Elliott

In response to: Policing the Pandemic: Nice, Nasty Or Just Confused

Thank you to Paul Kennedy for expressing something that has worried me for a couple of years. Most of the communications from the office of the PCC is as a police spokesperson. A few are on prosecutions and the existing/new support teams.

Every quarter, we are told a plan progress meeting is held, and even shown on web TV. But when I ask whether basic headline performance is measurably improving, it’s not mentioned in posts. Isn’t informing the people of that the PCC’s primary role? The usual reply is it’s in the 30 to 40 pages of minutes.

Earlier this year, there seemed to be surprise and shock when the increase in burglary and aggravated burglary became clear via media and the SCC panel. Unfortunately, apart from securing houses, not much else was said about prevention measures.

Not just in Surrey, the change from an appointed county councillor to an elected person with a large staff, and demotion of the police committee from a real decision-making entity to a powerless oversight panel, does not seem to have worked.

There were nationally reported problems with the investigation and prosecution of suspects. Many charged with serious crimes suffered the stigma of being on bail for years, before all charges were dropped “at the court door”. Did we get any real follow up apart from, “We will improve”? No response to general questions on improvement measures, because of all the specific inquiries.

A letter from one person affected asking the PCC to resign could not be discussed at the PC panel because it was ruled not to be in their scope.

Now we have the official who refused to independently (?) take over the SFRS, wanting to run a Surrey unitary authority. He’s failed to get the support of his Conservative party for another term as PCC. If Covid-19 hadn’t postponed all elections, would he still even be in post?

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Responses to Letter: The PCC Acts as Police Spokesperson But Offers Little Else

  1. David Roberts Reply

    September 14, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    I’d hazard a guess that most crime in Surrey is white-collar, and that most of that involves various forms of quite sophisticated fraud and money-laundering, especially through the property market. Compared with petty crime, which is relatively harmless, this isn’t something most people get steamed up about, or what gets PCCs elected. This is one reason why elections for PCCs are such a bad idea, dumbing down democracy by pandering to passing moral panics.

    I’d still like to know, though, what our PCC has done to rid Surrey of the real crime that thrives on the back of our prosperous service economy, and which may indeed sustain large parts of it.

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