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“Anyone who looks at the current debacle of protecting our borders probably shares the same exasperation as me. I doubt that they will feel any better to learn that if you live in a county with a motorway service station like ours on the M25 at Cobham, on a regular basis your police officers are taken away from protecting you to mop up hoards of illegal migrants. In the past few months Surrey Police have caught 156 people piling out of lorries as their drivers stop for diesel or a coffee. Recently in Redhill we had another 16 go on the run in an industrial park. No one knows how many were missed. The last time it happened at Cobham services police caught 20. Given that this takes out virtually half of the 999 response capability of the county and ties up our 9 prisoner vans for hours, along with dogs and the helicopter, to say nothing of the county’s cells, this is now a threat to my residents. We can’t respond to their needs or patrol adequately.
“What really concerns me though, is terrorism, we have detectors for CO2 for human breath, sniffer dogs and infra-red heat detectors yet it is clear that we are missing thousands of people. None of these detection systems work on properly wrapped automatic weapons and explosives. Ask yourself this; how many AK47s can fit into the body space of one person? Then multiply it by thousands, you get to see the potential risk.
“Some might say I’m no expert, but as someone who was the former Head of Counter Terrorism for the City of London Police, The senior police officer for the Coalition in Iraq and who was present en-route to the Westgate Mall in Nairobi on the day of the blitz attack by terrorists. I can say there are few politicians who have been up close and personal with terrorism in the way that I have.
“Leaving the threat of terrorists smuggling weaponry into the country, or drug traffickers bringing in heroin or cocaine, and ignoring women being trafficked for sex slavery, let’s take a look at the economic threat the current Borders debacle presents for the Chancellor. Virtually no exports are now able to leave through our busiest port, our exports are stuck on the M20, moreover hundreds of thousands of people are now able to work illegally, reducing the Chancellor’s ability to collect income tax and National Insurance Contributions, all of these unfortunate and soon to be exploited migrants will impose a burden on the NHS, Police and later Education services. As a model of how to damage your own economy and safety through the failure by neglect to control our borders it’s a perfect example.
“But what about going out of the country? Every year thousands of little British girls are taken back to countries like Somalia and Sudan to suffer brutal Female Genital Mutilation. We don’t stop them when we could. The state of our Borders has long been a scandal.
“The quick fix whilst we sort out the relationship with France is: ask the military to do what they did for us at the Olympics and during the floods. Step in where failure by others leaves no other option.
“In this case, it couldn’t be easier – Shornecliffe barracks in Folkestone is the base for the 700 soldiers of 2nd Royal Gurkha Rifles. The clue for the Home Secretary what to do next is in the word Folkestone – its where the Channel Tunnel comes out. My quick fix suggestion is ask a few Gurkhas to stroll up the hill and help the Border Agency search incoming lorries properly, at the same time bus some Gurkhas through the tunnel to support the Border Agency staff on the French side. They can buy their sandwiches for the day at the Tesco’s as they walk by. Couldn’t be easier.”
If you have a question there are several ways you can have your question read out for the PCC to answer live:
The event will be live streamed on youtube at: #SurreyPCCLive
A recording of the event will be made available on the Residents Network for those who are unable to watch live.
Kevin Hurley wants to raise our council tax and has renewed calls for a force merger.
Recently Kevin Hurley and his Deputy Jeff Harris took part in a Crime Summit at Camberley Theatre where they spelled out their proposals for a future Surrey Police Force. Some of the news they broke, in particular a significant force reduction, did not make for comfortable listening for many in the audience but a lot of what he said did make sense.
In the first of what is hoped will be a regular live event broadcast on the internet, Kevin Hurley will take part in a live Q & A with Paul Deach via the Surrey Residents Network.
If you want to ask the PCC for Surrey a question, either leave it in the comments here or tweet it with the #SurreyLive hashtag and Paul will read it out for Kevin to answer.
You will be able to watch the event live here on Thursday 26th February 2015 at 2pm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK3azbygXPI
At a meeting at County Hall today, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner Kevin Hurley has been unanimously backed by the Councillors and Independent Members that comprise the county’s Police and Crime Panel in his proposal for a 1.99% increase in the Police share of Council Tax for the coming year.
This will take the annual contribution from a Band D household for policing from £211.68 per year to £215.89p per year.
This follows the Commissioner’s decision to pause plans for a referendum on a higher council tax increase after putting the idea to the public in a major consultation.
Commenting on the decision, Kevin Hurley said:
“Let me be clear from the outset – today’s decision does not mean the police budget goes up next year. It means that the police budget will reduce by less than it might otherwise have done.
“Surrey Police has lost millions of pounds in Government funding over the last few years and will lose millions more in the years ahead. The force has made a whole range of reforms to become more efficient and live within its reducing means, being praised by HMIC for its achievements in doing so. However, those savings are running out. I am particularly concerned about what is coming over the horizon for the financial year 2016/17, where we face a budget gap of £7m. That will hit the police headcount and their ability to deliver service, there is no question about it.
“The clock is ticking. As I see it, there are three options to solve the problem:
Merge police forces – this is the best option, one that would release hundreds of millions, if not billions of pounds for front line policing by doing away with the 41 sets of HQs, Chief Officers and PCCs currently in place. I put proposals to do this to the Police Minister just a few weeks ago. The Government has no interest in taking them forward.
Improve the way the Government allocates its police funding – I’ve sent the Government independent analysis by Oxford Economics into how they allocate money to police forces and given achievable ideas for improving that to make sure the money goes to where it is really needed. Surrey is losing out on as much as £6m per year because the formula doesn’t work as well as it could. I sent this to the Home Office in 2013. We’ve not heard anything since.
Significantly increase what we raise via our other stream of income – the council tax. I asked the public about this and the support isn’t yet there for it.
“I’ve not gone to Government simply with the problems. I’ve gone to them with the answers. As far as I have seen, Westminster is simply not serious about tackling the issues that threaten police forces and public safety in Surrey and everywhere else in this country.
“This year, for the first time, the council tax payers of Surrey will provide more of their Police force’s funding than the Government does. Over the next 12 months I will continue to do all I can to engage the people of Surrey in discussion on the future of how we police their communities and to try and generate enough concern in the corridors of power for meaningful action to finally happen.”
This is the second round of Crime Summits for the Police and Crime Commissioner, following a series of successful events over the last year. Those Summits, held in every Borough and District in the county, saw nearly 1000 people getting involved in discussions over policing and community safety where they live.
In Surrey Heath this year, the PCC will be joined once again by the senior leadership of the Borough Council and the Police Neighbourhood Inspector to discuss the work that has been done in the Borough over the last twelve months. The public will have the opportunity to have their say on local community safety issues, including:
The Summit will be two hours in length and refreshments will be provided from 6:30pm.
You can register:
Telephone: 01483 630 200
Post: Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, PO Box 412, Guildford, Surrey, GU3 1BR
Kevin Hurley said:
“These Crime Summits are an invaluable opportunity for the Surrey public to tell us – the police and the councils – what they want us to do to make their local area even safer. We all share the same goal: to make things better for the people we serve. I encourage the people of Surrey Heath to get involved and have their voices heard.”
Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner Kevin Hurley has decided to propose a 1.99% increase in the police share of council tax for the coming year. The decision follows extensive consultation with local residents on their views on a referendum for a larger increase of 24%.
Kevin Hurley said:
“One of my six priorities as Police and Crime Commissioner is to give local people a greater say in how they are policed. From the beginning of my research into the idea of a referendum on a significant increase in the police share of council tax to mitigate against continued funding cuts and allow us to invest in better policing, I said that it would be the views of the public that would make the decision. It is their money and their police force. A referendum would cost over £1m to hold and I would not put that money on the line if I was not certain that a majority of residents would support the proposed increase.
“Having surveyed and spoken to thousands of people over the last few months, it is clear that, whilst there is a consistent level of support from around a third of residents for paying a significantly bigger amount towards policing in their council tax, the majority view remains against that decision and instead in favour of the smaller increase of 1.99%. That has made my final decision on our budget proposals very simple. I’m grateful to everyone who has taken the time to have a say.
Referendum legislation hinders not helps
“The process of talking to the public about this major budget decision and looking into the referendum idea has revealed an untapped appetite for direct democratic engagement amongst Surrey people. We found that, whilst ultimately people were not in support of the 24% tax proposal, there has been real enthusiasm for the public having a say. A large majority of the people we surveyed were in favour of the idea of a referendum to put the decision in their hands.
“That tells me that there are some really exciting opportunities to be had for invigorating our local democracy. Yet we have found that the legislation currently in place for a referendum on council tax hinders rather than encourages that process. In my view this legislation was hurriedly constructed to put a restriction on authorities’ ability to raise their council tax rather than to encourage local democracy. In light of what we have learned over the last few months, I will be making contact with the Department for Communities and Local Government with a view to looking at how we could make referendums cheaper and simpler to hold, to make it easier to give the public a direct say on local issues.
Funding battle continues
“Money is the biggest issue facing Surrey Police. From my first day in office I have been lobbying Government to either protect service levels by merging forces or if not, to provide more funding to where it is most needed. We receive the second lowest level of funding per head of population in the country and independent analysis shows that we’re losing out on as much as £6m government funding every year that we need to keep the county safe. Cuts are happening to our budget that will mean fewer officers and staff in Surrey in the years ahead. I am going to keep the pressure up to get what we need for policing via our local MPs and direct with Government Ministers. I’m also going to be continuing my conversations with residents and if support builds, it may well be the case that I look again at the referendum idea next year. I remain absolutely of the view that policing needs more investment to evolve to face the threats of today and tomorrow and that is not going to change.”
Esher, Haslemere, Epsom, Leatherhead, Old Woking, Banstead, Camberley, Horley, Sunbury and Chertsey.
The disposals of Egham and East Molesey Police stations are near completion and will continue.
One of the Commissioner’s first actions upon taking office was to call for a review of the policy of police station disposals in the county which began in 2010.
The sales have been suspended to ensure that the best possible value is being recouped for these properties. There is no plan to reopen any of the properties as police stations.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Jeff Harris, who led on the stations review on behalf of the PCC, said:
“Over the last few weeks, at the Commissioner’s request I have looked in detail at the estates disposal policy initiated in 2010.
“The basic logic of the policy remains sound – co-locating police teams with councils has helped improve services to the public. Closing ageing and barely-used stations has reduced our maintenance costs.
“However I think the time is right to look at the disposals currently underway and assess whether we can take a more commercially-minded approach to maximise their value.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Kevin Hurley said:
“I want to be absolutely certain that we are getting the maximum possible value for the public from these assets.
“Pausing these ten sales gives us the opportunity to assure ourselves that we are not missing any opportunities to do better for the public.”
Former senior policeman Kevin Hurley has shocked the Conservatives to become Surrey’s first police and crime commissioner.
The former Scotland Yard borough commander defeated Tory Julie Iles in the second round of voting.
As an Independent he campaigned on a “zero tolerance” policy and has pledged to “put some backbone” into policing.
Mr Hurley will oversee Surrey Police, appointing and dismissing the chief constable and setting the budget.
He was one of several independent candidates to win PCC elections across England and Wales.
Read full story via BBC Surrey – Surrey PCC election: Kevin Hurley beats Tory favourite