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Latest Figures Show Two in Every Three Burglaries Went Unattended in Surrey

Published on: 26 Apr, 2024
Updated on: 26 Apr, 2024

By Martin Giles

Nearly two-thirds or 63 per cent of burglaries in Surrey went unattended by Surrey Police last year, despite a government promise to attend all of them, the Liberal Democrats say their investigation has revealed.

Paul Kennedy

Paul Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat challenger to Surrey’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner in next week’s elections on Thursday 2nd May, said it showed the Conservatives were making yet more “empty promises” on crime and letting burglars and other criminals off the hook.

In total, 1,703 domestic burglaries in Surrey went unattended by a police officer in 2023.  That compares to just 1,016 burglaries in Surrey where a police officer did attend the scene.

See PCC candidate interviews here.

Across England & Wales the latest Home Office statistics show that while three in four burglaries went unsolved in the year ending September 2023 a much lower percentage, 20 per cent, went unattended. In neighbouring Sussex the figure was 22 per cent.

The Liberal Democrats are now calling for a legal “Burglary Response Guarantee” under which all domestic burglaries would be attended by the police and properly investigated.

Lisa Townsend

But the incumbent PCC Lisa Townsend, who is standing for re-election on May 2, says: “This “commitment” from the Liberal Democrat candidate is something that is already being delivered.

“Surrey Police, under the new Chief Constable, made its own renewed commitment to attend all domestic burglaries last year and is doing so. The force will always follow all reasonable lines of inquiry and is now charging more than double the number of offenders than seven months ago.”

Paul Kennedy, who was runner-up at the last PCC election, said: “Burglaries are an appalling crime to have to endure and it can leave people in Surrey feeling unsafe in their own homes. The ongoing failure by Surrey’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure every burglary is attended and investigated is letting criminals off the hook while victims are abandoned and let down.”

But he also told The Dragon he had confidence that the new Chief Constable would turn the situation around.

And Lisa Townsend added: “We also have more officers than ever before in the county, who are making a difference in their communities. We are working hard to deliver improvements across the force, and Surrey Police recently announced that both 999 and 101 call answering times are the quickest they have in record, and the force is performing top nationally for 999 call times.”

Alex Coley

Alex Coley, the Independent candidate in the forthcoming PCC election, said: “The data provided has arrived from a political source at the height of an election campaign, so I’ll take the contents with a pinch of salt. Nonetheless, if accurate, the results truly are shocking for  Surrey residents.

“Surrey Police are shown as mid-table for burglary incidents, but third [worst] for unattendance. The average unattendance rate overall is 20 per cent and 20 of the 24 respondents improved their unattended rate year-on-year.

“Surrey, however, was one of only four respondents where the unattended rate has increased in the last year. Looking at outcomes, Surrey has had the highest or joint-highest unsolved rate for burglaries three years running.

“This is about managing resources. The key pillar of my campaign is putting public money to work rather than squirrelling away £43 million into a Treasury fund, or worse underspending by millions every year. It’s a choice and a question of leadership. Time for change.”

Kate Chinn

And the Labour candidate, Kate Chinn, was also critical of Conservative performance. She said: “The Conservatives have overseen a complete collapse in policing. It is shocking.

“Surrey residents have told me about witnessing break-ins, reporting them to the police as they are happening and the police not responding. People no longer feel safe in their town centres and high streets.

“A Labour government will put 13,000 new officers on the beat providing visible, effective neighbourhood policing. Police who know their communities and the residents know their local team.

“101 calls are going unanswered so people who aren’t digitally connected can’t even report crimes. The current Conservative PCC is failing Surrey residents. The Lib Dems do not offer a viable alternative: soft on crime, light on drugs and no county-wide strategy.

“Only a Labour PCC working in a Labour government will make  a difference, tackling crime and making  our streets safe again.”

The data was uncovered by a FOI to all 39 police forces in England. Their responses can be accessed here.

Data on burglary outcomes, broken down by police force, is available here. Source: Home Office, Crime Outcomes in England and Wales, year to September 2023.

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Responses to Latest Figures Show Two in Every Three Burglaries Went Unattended in Surrey

  1. David Smith Reply

    April 26, 2024 at 2:02 pm

    It seems absolutely no action was taken by Surrey police after the weeks of burglaries the White Lane, One Tree Hill, Little Warren Close area. The police did nothing to inform residents of what was going on and people ended up taking matters into their own hands arriving on mass to targeted houses.

    If that’s making a difference it’s very worrying.

  2. Frank Emery Reply

    May 1, 2024 at 8:30 am

    That’s another reason why the PCC is a complete waste of money!

    • George Potter Reply

      May 1, 2024 at 6:16 pm

      Is it that the PCC is a complete waste of money or is that we keep on electing the wrong people to do the job?

      George Potter is a Lib Dem borough and county councillor

      • Wayne Smith Reply

        May 2, 2024 at 9:42 pm

        Is Cllr George Potter aware that the Lib Dem candidate is on record (Guildford Dragon interview) that he disagrees with the concept of having a PCC and thinks the money can be better spent on police officers? Yet he still put himself forward as a candidate! A very Lib Dem approach.

  3. Nigel Keane Reply

    May 2, 2024 at 5:30 pm

    A shortage of officers is the real problem Surrey Police is underfunded and in view of the proximity to London officers are underpaid. A Metropolitan Police officer is paid at least £5,000 more than Surrey’s officers for the same work especially those working near the force boundaries.

    The Home Office under both Conservatives and Labour has not revised the police funding process to enable more officers. There is too much emphasis on technology versus feet on the ground.

    The Chief Constable of Surrey has about the same number of officers of all ranks as the Westminster police borough command or the TFL traffic police command. The difference being Surrey has a much larger area to cover.

    I am sure that Sir Peter Matthews must be spinning in his grave at what has happened to his beloved force.

  4. Olly Azad Reply

    May 3, 2024 at 5:55 pm

    I read recently that morale among Surrey Police was at an “all time low,” and the main contributing factors was pay and feeling undervalued by the government. Tom Arthur, Surrey Police Federation branch secretary said that 90 per cent of officers were reaffirming this, whilst one in five of his colleagues are seeking employment elsewhere.

    The mantra by the government of wanting to recruit 20,000 more Police officers could soon become a self defeating prophecy if they cannot learn to appreciate, value and retain the existing numbers already severing in the police constabularies.

    If train drivers can expect to earn an average starting salary of £30,000, with all due respect, the starting salary of police officers should be £50,000.

  5. Frank Emery Reply

    May 3, 2024 at 6:56 pm

    One might say, the whole police force is a waste of time! Their attitude seems to be, let the morons do what they want and when we feel like it; we might step in or maybe we won’t.

    And as for the PCC, no comment is needed.

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