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Surrey Police Chief Apologises to Victims Over 15% Crime Clear-Up Rate

Published on: 24 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 24 Apr, 2021

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

Surrey’s police chief has admitted they are “not getting good enough justice for victims” after the latest data showed 85% of recorded crimes in Surrey go unsolved.

Unsurprisingly, with lockdown restrictions, county crime overall is down 14.2% with 66,433 offences recorded in the year to February 2021. But of these, only 9,964 were solved, down 7% on the previous year.

Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said their clear-up rate of 15% was “at the bottom end” of national figures, typically 14 to 18%. Surrey’s previous annual rate was 13.8%.

He said his force was “being honest in where we’re not doing well”, and “we are not doing well in getting good enough justice for our victims”.

But performance is even worse for offences classed as high harm, such as serious sexual offences, child abuse and violent domestic abuse, with a clear-up rate of 13.4%.

CC Stephens said this was not necessarily down to police not knowing who is responsible, but rather not having sufficient evidence, or the victim being unwilling to support prosecution.

New recruits allowed them to build a new incident review team, able to take on a problem-solving workload. They are also investing in training.

“We lost a lot of skills in austerity,” he said. “We are recruiting now but they are starting from scratch.”

The biggest crime reduction over the past year has been burglaries, down 42%, though this is expected to change now people are again leaving their homes.

Police are also expecting an increase in alcohol-related violent crime, since pubs and bars are allowed to reopen their outdoor spaces.

But Surrey does have the lowest crime rate in the South East and is the fifth safest county in England and Wales.

Only North Yorkshire, Devon and Cornwall, Wiltshire and Dyfed-Powys have lower levels of crime recorded (excluding fraud) for the year ending September 2020.

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