Michael has regular catch ups with Surrey Heath’s Borough Commander, so if you have any concerns about crime or anti-social behaviour, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Funding and officer numbers
Michael has been campaigning for more police officers in Surrey Heath, and welcomed the Government’s plan to recruit 20,000 additional officers.
As part of the national 20,000 uplift target, Surrey Police was granted 259 additional officers, but data released by the Home Office earlier this year shows the force have recruited 295 officers since March 2019.
This brings the number of officers in Surrey Police to 2,325, the highest it’s ever been, meaning there are more officers keeping people safe across the county than ever before.
Through the Police Funding Settlement, in 2023/24, Surrey will receive up to £287.2m, an increase of up to £12m on 2022-23. The Home Office is also providing the force with targeted additional funding to respond effectively to local policing challenges and pressures. For example, Surrey has received just under £1.7m through the Safer Streets Fund.
Michael is committed to ensuring all Surrey Heath’s residents feel safe and has been working with Surrey Police and Surrey Heath Borough Council on reducing anti-social behaviour.
Michael also led a new government taskforce dealing with low-level crime and on 16 January 2023, he held a roundtable meeting at No.10 with charities, police forces, the National Police Chiefs Council and others to discuss tackling anti-social behaviour.
Following his work with colleagues across Government, the Anti-social Behaviour Action Plan was published on 17 May 2023, setting out the Government’s approach to stamping out anti-social behaviour and restoring the right of people to feel safe in, and proud of, their local area.
The plan is an ambitious and wide-reaching new approach that will give Police and Crime Commissioners, local authorities, and other agencies the tools to tackle the blight of anti-social behaviour facing communities across England and Wales. You can read further details here.
As Michael was anxious to know more about what the priorities should be in Surrey Heath, at the end of June 2023, he launched a survey to enable constituents to share their concerns on crime and anti-social behaviour, which closed on 12 July.
Michael was hugely grateful to all those who responded to the survey, and it was clear from the results that noisy and speeding cars, as well as other anti-social behaviour, is a particular concern for many residents. Michael plans to discuss this issue with the Surrey Heath Borough Commander at their next catch up, and he will report back with news.
Some respondents to the survey expressed an interest in setting up a Neighbourhood Watch group, and the Surrey Heath Neighbourhood Watch website provides helpful information on how to set up and manage your own Watch.
If you have been a victim of anti-social behaviour, you can find support through Anti-social behaviour: how to get help.
Safety at train stations
Michael is in touch with South Western Railway and the Department for Transport regarding the renewal and improvement of CCTV in Surrey Heath’s railway stations to improve safety for passengers. Michael received an update from the Transport Secretary in April 2023, which you can find attached below.
Catalytic convertor theft
Michael has previously raised the theft of catalytic convertors and discussed how to deal with the issue with the DI Alick James, who confirmed in March 2021 that he had allocated a dedicated officer to review all the related car-crime offences to identify trends and patterns to help inform the police’s patrol plans and investigations.
In February 2023, Surrey Heath Borough Commander, Inspector Matthew Walton, provided the following update:
Catalytic converter theft (catcon for short) is still a priority in relation to vehicle crime alongside theft of motor vehicle (the main being the keyless thefts) and theft from motor vehicle in particular vans.
We deploy officers to all catcon thefts to at the very least conduct house to house and CCTV enquiries. We don’t always deploy physically to the victim depending on what come from these enquires to ID a suspect/s. In addition we have regular crime prevention work done either via our public stands, social media and through the neighbourhood watch. Finally we make use of our operational resources (traffic police/Firearms units/dog section etc) to task them to patrol the main arterial routes into the borough to try and catch offenders in the act.
We had a drop in this crime type up until last month after a number of people were arrested last year over the border in Thames Valley but clearly it has started to go up. I would continue to encourage anyone affected by this crime to report it to use so that we can use every opportunity to catch the offenders.
If you are worried about your catalytic convertor being stolen, measures that can be taken to mitigate the risk of theft can be found here.
Following a spate of burglaries across Surrey Heath in 2019, Michael wrote to the Chief Constable of Surrey Police in October 2019 and received a helpful response from Surrey Heath’s then Borough Commander, Bob Darkens, which is attached below.
Commander Darkens sent a further update on 4 December 2019, which is also attached below.
At the beginning of January 2020, Michael met Commander Darkens to discuss policing in the Borough and the challenges that officers are facing. He was assured that the Police are working incredibly hard to catch the criminals responsible for the burglaries.
In December 2020, Michael wrote to Commander Darkens’ successor, , to ask for an update on the latest statistics for burglaries in Surrey Heath. DI James reported that domestic burglaries in Surrey Heath were down 44% for year to date, and exceeded the reduction of 40% for the whole of west Surrey.
There are certain practical things that residents can do to help deter burglars, and you will find useful tips and advice on measures to help keep your home safe here.