Surrey Police welcomes drive to continue recruitment while policing lockdown.
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Surrey Police has welcomed the announcement today by the College of Policing of innovative steps being taken to ensure that recruitment continues despite the coronavirus outbreak, with 78 new uplift recruits expected in the county by March 2021.
Measures being introduced by the College of Policing include guidance on essential biometric vetting for new recruits as well as news that forces will soon be able to request an online assessment centre which will replace the need for face-to-face contact with candidates.
Adrian Rutherford, Director of People Services at Surrey Police comments: “The data published today by the National Police Chiefs’ Council highlights that we are in a strong position to achieve the Government funded officer allocation as we enter the new financial year. Following a period of limited recruitment investment, we have now received both precept and uplift funding and have undertaken large-scale recruitment drives over the past six months as a result. In February 2020, we saw over 270 people apply to be a Surrey police officer, one of the largest application rates in the past 18 months. This puts us in good stead for recruiting the 78 uplift officers by March 2021 and we’re confident, despite the challenging recruitment environment, that we will achieve this ahead of the deadline.
“Our recruitment for police officers, police community support officers, contact officers and detectives will continue and we have worked with the College of Policing to identify alternative processes to ensure those who are successful can start their training as early as possible. This includes removing the need for face to face medicals and vetting and adapted training methods including online learning and where this is not possible, for example personal safety training, socially distanced approaches undertaken. We also have 192 individuals waiting to undertake their assessment centre meaning they will be among the first individuals in the country to go through the new virtual assessment centre, due to launch in May .”
Meanwhile data also released today shows that Surrey Police has issued 346 of the 8,877 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) recorded by forces in England up to 27 April for breaches of government public health regulations.
Examples from last weekend where 13 FPNs were issued in Surrey include:
An FPN was issued to a person who had travelled from North Kent to Caterham to take photographs of their cars, with four friends not observing social distancing as they did so.
Four people from different households out in a vehicle at night in the Epsom area having driven there from Beckenham, with conflicting accounts as to why they were there between them.
An individual initially stopped for speeding in the Dorking area having travelled from West London, stated they were delivering food to their mother before admitting their mother was deceased and they were in fact in the process of preparing a second home for their family.
Government public health regulations introduced on 27 March 2020 to prevent the spread of coronavirus enable officers to issue individuals with £60 fines if they failed to comply after officers have engaged with them, explained the risks to public health and encouraged voluntary compliance.
We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank those people that have come forward in recent weeks to volunteer their time to assist Surrey Police.
In total 787 people have expressed an interest to be volunteers for Surrey Police and Sussex Police. These consist of both retired or former officers and staff as well as members of the public, who could be called upon should we experience high demand or require specific skills. We currently have 42 volunteers in posts within our local resilience forums, contact centres, coroner’s offices, safety camera partnership and as special constables. We expect the number of volunteers being called upon to increase as the pandemic continues over a longer period of time to provide extra resilience to both our front-line and non-operational support functions.
Finally ahead of the weekend we’d like to remind members of the public across Surrey to stay home to save lives. Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said: "Our policing approach during the lockdown has not changed. We are still patrolling, we are still engaging with the public and we are still taking enforcement action when it is absolutely necessary to do so. We are still doing all of this to protect the public and the NHS, and to save lives.
"We understand the frustrations of the public and we appreciate this is a very difficult time for everyone, but now is not the time to stop following the guidance.
"For the lockdown to be effective, everyone must pull together and do their bit by following the guidance and staying at home.
"We are seeing an increasing number of people travelling into Surrey from areas outside the county, for reasons that are not essential. This is not acceptable, and we continue to ask people to stay within a reasonable distance of their home if they are travelling for an essential purpose.
"Our message remains clear - stay home, protect the NHS, save lives. Please do your bit to help our communities and our country get past this pandemic."
Under government regulations, you should only leave the house for very limited purposes:
Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household
Any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home