3rd September 2009

Reference: Complaint

Dear Sir,

As a retired senior Metropolitan police officer and formerly a member of Surrey Police, I write to express my concerns as to the levels of policing that are being afforded to the residents of Felbridge.

During the time I have been a District and Parish Councillor I have been frequently approached by members of the pubic, seeking to know why police fail to respond or are late in attending to incidents in the village. Whenever I have followed up these complaints, I have inevitably been told that, “all units were ‘otherwise engaged’”.

I have to say, I am sick and tired of this response. If it is a case of resources being ’tied up’ thus leaving the public unprotected, then something is wrong with your policing methods.

I now refer to the specific reason for this latest complaint.

On Tuesday/Wednesday night 2nd September 2009, at about 1.30am, I received a call from a neighbour to say she had just disturbed a man attempting to enter her home. She had spotted him up a ladder which had been placed against the wall of her house and entry was obviously intended through an open window into her bedroom. At the time, the lady was on her own with her two children, her husband being away on .I immediately attended and established that the offender had decamped down the lane towards open countryside. The night weather conditions were dry, calm and there was no movement of other people or vehicles in the area.   I contacted the call centre, identified who I was and where I was speaking from. I pointed out that it was a perfect night for a track and asked that a dog hander to be deployed. I also added that there was no danger at the house, and that officers should concentrate on patrolling the area, before coming to the scene.

Eventually, a police unit attended and I established that they had been deployed from Epsom!!! Where were the units which should have been patrolling the area of Tandridge? Please do not tell me they were all engaged elsewhere.

I again asked the officers to call for a dog handler (they didn’t deem to call for one themselves). A call was made and I was told that there were no dog handlers on duty!

I then asked the officers to seek assistance  from Sussex Police, as we have been advised in the past, that because of my repeated concerns about being left unprotected due to lack of police resources,  there was some form of liaison between Forces (similar to that  operated within the Fire Service). I remember writing to you on this very subject some two years ago.

I was advised that the only unit on duty was engaged elsewhere (at least they did have a unit on duty).

Having settled the householder down, removed the ladder to my house to keep it under cover prior to forensic examination, everyone withdrew.

The next day I circulated a’ flyer’ (attached) to all houses in the area, seeking to establish who had lost a ladder. It was eventually confirmed where the ladder had originated from. I have not seen any police officers making house to house enquiries as I have done (or maybe you don’t do that these days).

It was left for me to circulate the crime to our village website, which has resulted in three responses so far, from people who had seen something odd going on in the area. All this information has been passed to the Intel unit.

My complaint is quite simple:-

1.      Why was there a need to dispatch a unit from Epsom to deal with the crime?

2.      Where were units supposedly patrolling the Tandridge area?

3.      Why was there no dog handler unit on duty?

4.      What follow up enquiries are made in cases such as this?

I welcome your response.

Yours sincerely,


K.S .Harwood