CUTS: Regular police panel meetings have been cut
As reported by the Mirror in November, the force needs to save £25 million over the next four years to cope with Government budget reductions and soaring reports of sexual offences.
To combat the increasing demands on officers, regular panel meetings – one of the only opportunities residents had to see an officer face to face – have been scrapped across Surrey.
Dave Brown, chairman of Salfords and Sidlow Parish Council, said: “As a parish council we are concerned that local community policing seems to be essentially a thing of the past. Police seem to think everybody should approach them on Twitter, Facebook or through their website. The point we made was with an elderly population you can’t expect people to be rushing to their computers every time they have concerns about local crime.
“Not many people attend panel meetings, but the point is it gives people an opportunity to have a frank and full conversation with members of the local policing team. People only go if they have concerns or want to find something out.”
A spokesman for Surrey Police said patrols would still be taking place but said panel meetings would only be held in response to specific issues. He added: “The public can be reassured that officers are available to carry out core responsibilities; which include protecting life and property, preventing offences and bringing offenders to justice. However, current resource and financial restrictions place unavoidable limitations on the force’s ability to meet all such expectations so inevitably, overall police attendance at panel meetings across the county will be reduced.
“They will be held in response to specific policing issues raised in a particular area – such as chronic and repeat issues causing the most police-related demand within the locality.”
Residents can contact their local Safer Neighbourhood Team visiting www.surrey.police.uk