Residents lose battle to keep their dedicated local police officer

PC Surridge will now be based at Havant Police Station. Picture: Google Maps
PC Surridge will now be based at Havant Police Station. Picture: Google Maps
Katrice Lee

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A PETITION signed by more than 1,600 residents has failed to keep a neighbourhood police officer stationed in their area.

PC Debra Surridge will now operate from Havant Police Station as part of Hampshire Constabulary’s new Havant and Emsworth team.

The announcement made by county police comes after more than 1,600 residents backed a petition to keep PC Surridge in a role dedicated to Hayling Island amid alleged force cuts.

Despite the move, police assured signees PC Surridge would continue to serve the area as part of Havant’s district team of 15 neighbourhood constables.

In an online statement, Waterlooville inspector, Dave Humphries, said: ‘PC Surridge works on the Neighbourhood Policing Team and that is not subject to any cuts in January. What is changing is the line management of Hayling Island.

‘As of the 1st of January 2018, Hayling Island will be managed by Inspector Andy Clinton and Sgt Ross Freemantle as part of the Havant and Emsworth team – this is due to a rebalancing of resources.’

It was Paul Gray – Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Havant – who set up the petition, aimed at the constituency’s MP, Alan Mak.

Speaking after it was announced PC Surridge would move but continue to serve the island, Mr Gray said: ‘Everyone is grateful for any small mercy, but to try and see a positive side of this is quite difficult.

‘This is all about cuts. PC Surridge was the individual at the heart of this petition, but the bigger issue is the island’s shrinking force.

‘Crime is going up and its link to a decreasing police presence is clear.’

Hayling Island’s police station closed to the public in 2012, with officers moving to a private space inside Hayling Island Library in 2016.

Police said PC Surridge’s move will not result in the office’s closure.

Figures show 1,005 crimes were committed on Hayling Island in 2017, compared to 856 in 2016 .

Police minister, MP Nick Hurd, will soon visit the island to hold talks on police funding.

Reassuring residents, Conservative MP Alan Mak said: ‘Hayling remains a safe place to live and work and I’ve worked closely with local police and councillors since 2015, while lobbying the police minister for more funding.’