Fringe Box



Letter: There Are Cultural Problems in Surrey Police

Published on: 25 Apr, 2022
Updated on: 25 Apr, 2022

From: Andrew Barr

In response to: Surrey Police Doesn’t Have the Culture Challenges Faced By the Met, says Surrey PCC

Surrey Police (and by extension the volunteers who assist them) do have the same cultural problems as the Metropolitan Police despite what the Police & Crime Commissioner has been told by Surrey Police themselves. It would be naive to think otherwise.

One of the reasons the Met Police come under more public scrutiny is that they are more willing to refer themselves to the IOPC (Independent Office of Police Conduct) when a complaint is made in an attempt to show transparency. This does not appear to be the case with Surrey Police who take a defensive attitude when complaints are raised.

There is little point in the PCC comparing the Met with Surrey as the Met has at least 30,000 more officers than Surrey plus there are thousands more people in civilian roles. Despite being the largest UK police force, the Met only have around 184 complaints per 1,000 employees which is lower than the national average of 290. Perhaps the PCC would like to compare Surrey’s performance to other similar-sized forces for a more balanced view and take note of why the Met’s figures are lower?

The Professional Standards Department (PSD) at Surrey is not fit for purpose. Complaints about misconduct by officers/staff are not investigated to anywhere near an acceptable standard when complainants are not spoken to, physical evidence is not reviewed, updates are not given and investigations not carried out in a timely manner.

All too often PSD say they are not willing to engage further about matters and encourage the complainant to take the matter to Judicial Review at their expense if they want a complaint investigated, something the majority of people cannot afford to do and is effectively sweeping complaints under the carpet.

The current complaints system is not fit for purpose with PSD investigating complaints against themselves. Naturally, they will never find fault with themselves and they are unwilling to accept they have made a mistake or that problems exist. There is a lack of transparency and accountability which leads to a lack of trust. There needs to be more self-referrals to the IOPC if the public is to have confidence in the police complaints system, even if this means the IOPC overseeing an investigation by Surrey PSD rather than it investigating itself.

The lack of figures given to the Police and Crime Panel about the number of complaints upheld is another example of the lack of transparency. One only has to look at the “accessing information” section of the Surrey Police website to see that only one outcome for a misconduct hearing comes up when searching under that criteria. The information is there but it has been made hard to find which gives a perception that all is well in Surrey Police which is not the case.

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Responses to Letter: There Are Cultural Problems in Surrey Police

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    April 25, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    I currently have to agree with Mr Barr.

    Many offences I would consider serious are no longer regarded “criminal”, requiring police action, because it affects their budget.

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