Surrey Police
Surrey Police badge.svg
Agency overview
Formed1 January 1851[1]
Annual budget£261.7 million (2021/22)[2]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionSurrey, United Kingdom
England Police Forces (Surrey).svg
Map of Surrey Police's jurisdiction
Size642 square miles (1,660 km2)
Population1.1 million
Operational structure
Overviewed by
Police officers2,134 (including 141 special constables) (September 2020) [3]
Police community support officers156 (September 2020) [3]
Police and crime commissioner responsible
Agency executive
  • Gavin Stephens, Chief constable
Website Edit this at Wikidata

Surrey Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing the county of Surrey in South East England.

The force is currently led by Chief Constable Gavin Stephens. Previously the force was led by Nick Ephgrave who left the force to re-join the Metropolitan Police. This was announced by the county PCC on 13 December 2018.[4]

Previous to this, the chief constable was Lynne Owens, Surrey's first female chief constable.[5] Owens left in December 2015.

The force has its headquarters at Mount Browne, Guildford, Surrey.


On 1 January 1851, the Surrey Constabulary began its policing of the county with a total of 70 officers, the youngest of whom was 14 years old. The first Chief Constable was H. C. Hastings, who served in this capacity for 48 years. Originally Guildford, Reigate and Godalming had separate borough police forces. The Reigate and Guildford forces were merged into Surrey's in 1943.


Part of the present force area was originally part of the Metropolitan Police District, and was only transferred to the control of Surrey Police from the Metropolitan Police in 2000. This includes the boroughs of Epsom and Ewell, Spelthorne and part of Reigate and Banstead and Elmbridge. Surrey Police was divided into three divisions but in 2010 became a single division, and as of March 2014 is policed by 1,938 regular police officers, in addition to 182 Special Constables and 153 Police Community Support Officers (see table below for more information). Surrey has one of the lowest crime rates in England and Wales. It has now reverted to three area divisions.

For 2017/18, Surrey Police has total expenditure of £224.1m, of which £183.2m goes on employee costs, £27.3m on supplies and services, £8.8m on premises, and £4.8m on transport. It also has £11.1m of income, resulting in "gross expenditure" of £213m.[6]

The last permanent Chief Constable of Surrey Police was Nick Ephgrave, appointed in July 2016. He had been temporary Chief Constable since December 2015 and was previously Deputy Chief Constable, having been in that role since July 2013. Before this he was a Commander in the Metropolitan Police. The previous Chief Constable of Surrey Police was Lynne Owens, who left to become the head of the National Crime Agency.

Woking police station
Woking police station

Surrey Police has four main divisions: three area divisions, Northern, Eastern, and Western; and a specialist crime/ops division. Within the three division are multiple borough teams. Typically each borough will have a Neighbourhood Specialist Team (formerly they Safer Neighbourhood Team) and a Neighbourhood Policing Team (Formerly the Area Patrol Team/Targeted Patrol Team/Response). These borough teams are supported by investigative teams which span the whole division, this being the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Safeguarding Investigation Unit (SIU).

The specialist crime division is often referred to as OPS, and includes specialist units. This being the Roads Policing Unit (RPU), Tactical Firearms Unit (TFU), Specialist Dog Handlers, Crime Scene Investigation Officers (formerly SOCOs).

There are further force wide teams, some of which are now joint teams with Sussex Police, including the Paedophile and OnLine Investigation Team (POLIT), Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT, Sussex/Surrey Joint team), Sexual Offences Investigation Team (SOIT) and then a range of support services typical of many forces.

Surrey Police employee numbers[7]:
2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19
Police Officers 1,974 1,970 1,938 1,863 1,938 1,986 1,994 1,995
PCSOs 228 210 153 123 119 120 106 126
Police Staff 1,715 1,690 1,592 1,497 1,417 1,445 1,449 1,424
Designated Officers 306 295 247 197 176 123 126 126
Total FTE personnel 4,223 4,165 3,930 3,680 3,650 3,674 3,675 3,671
Special Constables 345 273 182 122 109 118 135 155

1. All figures are official Home Office figures.
2. All figures are full-time equivalents apart from for special constables which are a headcount.
3. Figures apply to 31 March of that year, e.g., 2008/09 figures are for 31 March 2009.
4. Designated Officers that are not PCSOs have one of three roles: investigation officer, detention officer or escort officer.

Senior people

Police and crime commissioners

The first election for Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner took place on 15 November 2012. Kevin Hurley (independent, stood under the label "Zero Tolerance Policing ex Chief"), who was a retired Metropolitan Police borough commander, was elected. He defeated candidates from Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, plus an independent.

The second election took place on 5 May 2016. The Conservative candidate, David Munro, was elected. He defeated Jamie Goldrick, independent; Kevin Hurley; Camille Juliff, independent; Howard Kaye, Labour; Paul Kennedy, Liberal Democrat; and Julia Searle, UKIP.[8]

Chief constables

Chief constables have been:[9]


See also: Police ranks of the United Kingdom

Surrey Police has the following ranks. Every rank from constable to chief superintendent has a detective equivalent. These confer no additional powers or authority from their uniform equivalents.

Air operations unit

Surrey has air operations covered by the National Police Air Service. The helicopter callsign NPAS15 which predominately covers the Surrey Policing area is based at Redhill Aerodrome and also covers the Sussex, West Hampshire and Essex Area.

Surrey Police Museum

To help celebrate its 150th anniversary, a museum portraying the history of the Force was opened at Mount Browne, the Surrey Police's headquarters in Guildford. Surrey resident Sir Michael Caine, CBE, opened the museum on 22 October 2001. Displays include artefacts and touch-screen technology, all tracing the history of the Force up to the present day.

Training of new recruits

Surrey Police now operates the PLC (police, law & community) course method of training and recruitment. This course ensures that potential recruits already possess knowledge of police law before applying to join Surrey Police. The course is run by several colleges in Surrey, as well as the University of Portsmouth. Although the PLC certificate can be obtained with a pass mark of 40% in the final examination, Surrey Police require a pass mark of 60% to become eligible to reach the application stage of the recruitment process.

The course allows the training phase of a police officer to be reduced by 15 weeks.


There were 710 complaint cases for Surrey Police in 2009/10. This is a 206% change on the 2003/04 figure. This is the second highest increase (after Northamptonshire) of all 43 forces in England and Wales. For comparison, the average change across forces in England and Wales over the same period was 113%.[13] Surrey Police have been condemned by a coroner's jury over the death of Terry Smith who was restrained and put in a spit hood and kept in restraints for over two hours despite saying repeatedly that he could not breathe.[14]

Proposed merger with Sussex Police

Under controversial merger plans announced by then Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, in 2006, the number of police forces in England and Wales would have been cut from 43 to 24. Proposals put forward on 20 March 2006 would have seen the Surrey force merged with Sussex Police to form a single strategic police force for the area.[15]

Police authorities had until 7 April 2006 to respond to the plans; the Home Secretary then announced on 11 April 2006 that Surrey Police and Sussex Police would merge by 2008. However, on 12 July 2006, a Government minister announced that all proposed police merger plans in England and Wales were on hold.[16]

Although, as of 2018, there are no plans to merge Surrey and Sussex Police into one force, the two organisations do have certain specialist departments which are shared across both force areas such as the firearms & roads policing units and alongside major investigations.[17]

Crime and detection rates

Surrey has the joint seventh lowest crime rate (with one other force) of the 43 force areas in England and Wales, with 55 crimes per 1,000 population. In the year to the end of March 2012 there were 61,757 crimes recorded in Surrey, according to Office for National Statistics figures published in July 2012. This is a 5.2% drop on 2010/11 when there were 65,125 crimes recorded in Surrey.[18][19]

Despite having the joint seventh lowest crime rate, the detection rate for offences was the joint second lowest (with one other force) of the 43 forces in England and Wales, with a rate of 20 percent. The average for England and Wales was 27 percent.

Detection rates by offence group, percentages[20][21]
Total Violence against the person Sexual offences Robbery Burglary Offences against vehicles Other theft offences Fraud and forgery Criminal damage Drug offences Other offences
Surrey (2011/12) 20 27 27 21 10 6 17 15 8 92 54
Surrey (2010/11) 20 28 26 25 10 6 17 22 9 91 48
England and Wales (2011/12) 27 44 30 21 13 11 21 22 13 92 68
England and Wales (2010/11) 28 44 30 21 13 11 22 24 14 94 69

Future of Surrey Police

In a report published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in July 2011,[22] the impact on the number of police officers and staff partly due to the reduction to Surrey Police's budget following the comprehensive spending review is as follows:

Police officers Police staff PCSOs Total
31 March 2010 (actual) 1,890 2,092 224 4,206
31 March 2015 (proposed) 1,959 2,184 222 4,365

Notable cases

This section needs expansion with: more information and cases. You can help by adding to it. (October 2011)

Breakdown of officer numbers

Surrey Police officer numbers by rank and division as at 31 December 2015:[23]
Division Police Constables Det Constables Sergeants Inspectors Ch Inspectors Supt Ch Supt ACPO Total
Western 319 40 60 14 3 2 1 0 439
Eastern 280 40 57 14 3 2 1 0 397
Northern 244 37 55 12 3 2 0 0 353
Specialist Crime 78 74 41 14 5 5 1 0 218
Operations 158 1 26 3 1 2 0 0 191
Support Services 162 2 10 1 0 1 0 0 176
CJ & Custody 7 0 52 5 1 1 0 0 66
DCC Portfolio 5 2 8 5 2 1 1 0 24
Contact 0 0 4 11 2 1 0 0 18
Support Units 1 2 4 3 0 0 0 4 14
Total 1,254 198 317 82 20 17 4 4 1,896
Ford Focus pictured in 2014
Ford Focus pictured in 2014
BMW 5 Series pictured in 2014
BMW 5 Series pictured in 2014

Road casualties in Surrey

As well as preventing and detecting crime, Surrey Police say that "dealing with road accidents forms a large part of our job, or at least taking measures to try and prevent them".[27] The following table shows the number of casualties, grouped by severity, on Surrey's roads over recent years.[28][29]

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Fatal 45 41 32 28 18 18 38
Serious 483 530 488 554 556 581 697
Total 528 571 520 582 574 599 735
Slight 5,411 5,184 4,811 5,173 4,991 4,624 4,673
Grand total 5,939 5,755 5,331 5,755 5,565 5,223 5,408

Criticism by the IPCC

Lack of investigation of phone hacking

In criticism widely reported in the media,[30][31][32] Deborah Glass, Deputy Chair of the IPCC, said in a six-page report[33][34] regarding the hacking in 2002 of the phone of the murdered Milly Dowler:

"It is apparent from the evidence that there was knowledge of this at all levels within the investigation team.

"There is equally no doubt that Surrey Police did nothing to investigate it; nobody was arrested or charged in relation to the alleged interception of those messages either in 2002 or subsequently, until the Operation Weeting arrests in 2011.

"Phone hacking was a crime in 2002 and it should have been investigated. [...] We have not been able to uncover any evidence, in documentation or witness statements, of why and by whom that decision [not to investigate] was made: former senior officers in particular appear to have been afflicted by a form of collective amnesia about this." She also said: "In view of the widespread knowledge uncovered in this investigation, we consider that it is scarcely credible that no one connected to the Milly Dowler investigation recognised the relevance and importance of the knowledge that Surrey Police had in 2002, before this information was disclosed by Operation Weeting."

Return of firearms used in double murder

In Farnham in February 2014, John Lowe murdered Christine and Lucy Lee, using one of his firearms that had been returned to him by Surrey Police. In October 2014, Lowe was convicted of their murders and received a life sentence with a minimum term of 25 years.[35]

Two independent reports by Hampshire Constabulary and North Yorkshire Police criticised the decision to return his firearms, which prompted the IPCC to launch an independent investigation. This investigation concluded in February 2016 and it published its findings in a 73-page report in April 2017.[36][37][38][39] IPCC associate commissioner Tom Milsom said: "Our investigation paints a deeply concerning portrait of how Surrey Police's firearms licensing team operated at that time. We found a unit which lacked the necessary training and processes to manage such a serious responsibility, staffed by individuals who were failing to undertake their duties with rigour and due consideration."

Two staff members left Surrey Police as a result of this investigation, one being dismissed for gross misconduct and the other retiring before a hearing for gross misconduct could take place.

The IPCC also conducted a separate independent investigation into complaints made by Stacey Banner, the daughter of Christine Lee and sister of Lucy Lee, who was arrested in a separate incident weeks after the murders. The IPCC found that a detective constable and a detective sergeant had cases to answer for misconduct and a detective inspector for gross misconduct.

See also

Other Surrey emergency services


  1. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 14 October 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  2. ^[bare URL PDF]
  3. ^ a b "Tables for 'Police workforce, England and Wales, 30 September 2020". HM Government. Office for National Statistics. 30 September 2020. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  4. ^ "PCC: Chief Constable to leave Surrey Police to take up senior Metropolitan Police post". Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Lynne Owens is new Surrey Chief Constable". BBC News.
  6. ^ Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey. "Surrey Police Council Tax information - 2017/18". Retrieved on 21 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Police workforce England and Wales statistics". GOV.UK. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  8. ^ BBC News (5 May 2016). Surrey PCC elections: Conservatives oust Kevin Hurley. Retrieved on 5 May 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Chief Constables". Surrey Police. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Sir Peter Matthews". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  11. ^ 'HAYES, Sir Brian', Who's Who 2017, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2017; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2016; online edn, Nov 2016 accessed 4 Nov 2017
  12. ^ 'WILLIAMS, David John', Who's Who 2017, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2017; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2016; online edn, Nov 2016 accessed 4 Nov 2017
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 April 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Inquest jury condemns Surrey police over death of man placed in spit hood The Guardian
  15. ^ "Police forces 'to be cut to 24'". BBC News. 20 March 2006. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  16. ^ "Forces happy at 'no merger' news". BBC News. 12 July 2006. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  17. ^ "Sussex Police Operational Delivery Plan (2017-2018)" (PDF). Sussex Police. Sussex Police. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  18. ^ Home Office (July 2011). Crime in England and Wales 2010/11. See Excel file for "Police force area data tables".
  19. ^ Office for National Statistics (July 2012). Crime Statistics, Period Ending March 2012. See "Crime statistics: Police force area data tables 2011-12 - Crime in England and Wales, Quarterly First Release to March 2012".
  20. ^ Home Office (July 2011). Crimes detected in England and Wales 2010/11 Archived 7 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine. See Excel file for "Police force area tables".
  21. ^ Home Office (July 2012). Crimes detected in England and Wales 2011 to 2012. See Excel file for "Police force area tables".
  22. ^ HMIC (July 2011). Valuing the Police: Preparedness Inspection - Surrey Police.
  23. ^ (11 October 2016). FoI request: "Cross-reference of police officers in Surrey Police by rank and division". Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  24. ^ (18 June 2014). FoI request: "Police officers and staff members by rank/grade and department"
  25. ^[bare URL PDF]
  26. ^[bare URL PDF]
  27. ^ "Error".
  28. ^ Surrey County Council (updated: 26 November 2014). Road accidents facts and figures.
  29. ^ "Serious road casualties in Surrey reaches 10-year high". BBC News.
  30. ^ "Surrey police officers accused of 'collective amnesia' over failure to check 2002 report that Milly Dowler's phone was hacked". The Independent. 24 April 2013. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022.
  31. ^ Vikram Dodd. "Police did nothing about Dowler phone hacking for a decade, says IPCC". The Guardian.
  32. ^ "Milly Dowler police 'amnesia' over phone hack claims". BBC News. 24 April 2013.
  33. ^ IPCC (24 April 2013). IPCC issues findings from investigation into Surrey Police and the knowledge that Milly Dowler’s mobile phone was hacked.
  34. ^ IPCC (24 April 2013). IPCC independent investigation into Surrey Police’s knowledge of the alleged illegal accessing of Amanda (Milly) Dowler’s mobile phone in 2002.
  35. ^ Josh Halliday. "Puppy farmer jailed for at least 25 years for double murder". The Guardian.
  36. ^ "Surrey puppy farm shootings: 'Deep concern' over police staff". BBC News.
  37. ^ Caroline Davies. "Woman criticises police for returning guns to killer of her mother and sister". The Guardian.
  38. ^ IPCC (26 April 2017). IPCC finds Surrey Police failed to properly review John Lowe's firearm licence before returning his firearms. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  39. ^ IPCC (26 April 2017). Investigation into the decision by Surrey Police to return firearms to Mr Lowe prior to the fatal shootings of Christine and Lucy Lee. Independent investigation report. Retrieved 26 April 2017.