On Friday I had my latest catch-up (via Zoom) with Inspector Bert Dean, the Elmbridge Borough Commander at Surrey Police.
We talked through his team’s priorities and what they’re doing to keep crime down locally. It was very encouraging to hear that we’ve seen a 50% reduction in burglaries in Elmbridge, though there has also been a spike in anti-social behaviour recently. Inspector Dean reassured me that the team is working hard to clamp down on this. Overall, the latest figures show a 2.2% reduction in recorded crimes in the borough, in the year ending June 2020, compared to the previous year.
We also discussed Surrey Police’s funding and staffing. Just before Christmas, the Home Office announced a £12.8m funding boost for Surrey Police next year and set a target to recruit 76 additional officers. This year’s target was 78 additional officers, and 47 of these had been recruited by October last year. We’ve seen 6 more officers here in Elmbridge, which is making a real impact locally.
Of course Coronavirus is at the forefront of everybody’s minds, so we spoke about how the pandemic has affected policing in Elmbridge. It was good to hear that compliance with the restrictions has been reasonably high overall, with less than 60 fines issued in Elmbridge since April. I also talked Bert through the government’s plans for rolling out vaccines, based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). As the JCVI advised, the first phase of the vaccination programme is focussed on the direct prevention of mortality, and supporting the NHS and social care system.
Most importantly, this was an opportunity for me to thank Bert and his whole team for their exceptional work advising residents and enforcing the guidance during the pandemic. Coronavirus has been difficult for all of us, and I know that it has demanded a great deal of our police. I made clear to Bert that I and the community are very grateful for their efforts.