The Conservatives have lost control of crime in the county, says Kate Chinn, the Labour candidate for the position of Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

“Under the present PPC [Lisa Townsend] the Conservative record in Surrey is one of failure,” Cllr Chinn, leader of the Labour group on Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, said.

And Conservative cuts are central to this failure, she added, reducing the number of police and PCSOs on Surrey streets over the last 14 years and closing nearly all the police stations in the county.

“Surrey Labour has long argued that every town centre has a disused shop that could be re-purposed as a police office, to be a focal point for reporting crime and as a visible deterrent,” she said.

“It is not surprising that burglaries and shoplifting have risen to unprecedented levels. The Conservative PCC seems incapable or unwilling to address the real concerns of the people I meet.”

A psychiatric nurse, Cllr Chinn works in the social care sector.

“Working with vulnerable people I understand the damaging impact that crime has on our communities,” she said. “Surrey has been my home for over 30 years and my family, friends and most local people say they have never known it this bad.

“They all fear for their safety if we have another five years of a hard right-wing Conservative Police & Crime Commissioner, that’s why we need a real change.”

Lisa Townsend, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner
Lisa Townsend, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner ( )

But Surrey’s Tory PCC, Lisa Townsend, defended her record, highlighting the increase in police officers and enhancements in emergency response times as key achievements of her three-year term.

“Surrey now has more police officers than ever before,” she said, pointing to a significant reduction in 999 and 101 call wait times as evidence of her effective leadership.

The Conservative PCC outlined her efforts to maintain a "front counter presence" across Surrey and to engage the community through ‘Meet the Beat’ events.

She also hit back at criticism of station closures by arguing that funds are better allocated towards frontline staff and police visibility in communities.

And she highlighted her success at securing more than £10 million for initiatives targeting residents' top concerns, like anti-social behaviour and violence against women and girls.

“Fixing these big issues is not always easy or quick,” Ms Townsend admitted, but she said public feedback suggests residents “now feel safer in their communities and that the additional police officers across our county are making a difference”. 

She added Surrey remains the safest county that shares a border with the Metropolitan Police, and the third safest county in the country for both knife crime and violent crime, “two areas that London’s Labour mayor, who holds the Police and Crime Commissioner responsibilities for the city, is struggling to grip”. 

"We are also the fourth safest county in the country, the safest in the South East region by some distance, and the safest county in the country for homicide.”

The election to appoint the next Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey will be held on Thursday, May 2.