Surrey Police Crime Commissioner spends £3 Million while officer numbers are slashed

Through several Freedom of Information requests, the Liberal Democrat Party has discovered that Surrey’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner (PPC) has cost the taxpayer £3.2 million since 2019, paying out huge sums for social media and office costs as community police officers were removed from patrolling streets and dealing with crimes.

Since 2021, Surrey Commissioner Lisa Townsend has had three staff members to run her social media presence and has increased her office costs by £180,000 – the equivalent of seven community police officers (PCSOs). Yet since Townsend was elected, Surrey has slashed 39 community officers from the streets!

In April, Liberal Democrat Leader, Ed Davey, called on the Government to scrap commissioners amid falling community officer numbers. Since 2019, England and Wales have lost 1,284 community police officers, despite tens of millions spent on PCCs. The costs of the country’s PCCs could have funded an additional estimated 3,830 community officers on an average salary of £26,634. It is shocking to see a local Conservative politician waste so much money on social media and office costs whilst officer numbers are slashed.

According to discussions with the office of the PCC recently, the recruitment of PCSO’s by Surrey Police ground to a halt last year to hit savings targets. Whilst recruitment has now resumed, it will take some years to return to previous levels.

2 thoughts on “Surrey Police Crime Commissioner spends £3 Million while officer numbers are slashed

  1. Our borough commander told Neighbourhood Watch coordinators at a meeting in May that Elmbridge only has 2 PCSOs. I was wondering how much money Lisa Townsend was spending, after reading her latest newsletter and seeing the wide range of activities she was engaging in, which, while potentially socially worthwhile, seemed to me to be well outside the job description of a PCC.

  2. Helpful if you would give details of how the Commissioner had spent the £.2 M. so we can assess what has been done, rather than scoring stupid political points overPCSO’s. I would rather see more Pc”s and some evidence the commissioner is supervising the Chief Constable and his force.

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