SURREY’S new Chief Constable is promising a back-to-basics style of policing.
Speaking to the Advertiser on Monday, Lynne Owens promised to deliver high-quality, straightforward policing on a budget.
Lynne Owens, the new Chief Constable of Surrey Police
She said: “I think there is a risk we over-complicate policing. I think the public want three things from us.
“I think they want us to keep them safe. I think they want to have confidence that if they contact us we will be there for them. And I think they want us to relentlessly pursue criminals. If we do those three things then we’ll continue to have a safe county.”
Mrs Owens knows public spending cuts are affecting morale among officers, but says further cuts will be needed as Surrey Police looks to save Â£5 million by 2015.
She said: “I will make sure we deliver policing based on the budget I am given. We don’t know what the future might hold; it doesn’t look like it’s going to be that much more rosy.
“From my perspective, I’m looking at whether we could share more of our back-office services internally, whether we should do more in collaboration with Sussex Police and we’re also looking at whether we can do more with the private sector.”
Mrs Owens, who took up her post on February 1, knows some of her predecessor Mark Rowley’s plans were radical, but believes he was right to make decisions such as closing “old-style and underused” police stations and the “pensioning-off” of long-serving older officers.
She added: “The Surrey public don’t always want to come to a police station. Police stations are very expensive places to run and very few people were going into them. That wasn’t a good use of funds.”
Mrs Owens has seen many changes during her 28 years in the police, including a steady move away from the “macho” culture.
The mother of one said: “The most difficult time in my career was when I was pregnant 15 years ago. I don’t think my male colleagues were used to someone who was going to carry on with their career beyond that point.”
Surrey police chief promises straightforward working