Police need to patrol main roads and use automatic number plate recognition to intercept gangs of awayday criminals from London according to a candidate hoping to become Surrey’s first police and crime commissioner.
Nick O’Shea is standing for the Liberal Democrats in the elections for a commissioner who will replace the current police authority on November 15.
Speaking after a raid on Christianes Jewellers, in Bookham High Street last month, when the shop’s staff were threatened with sledgehammers, Mr O’Shea said people in the county are living “in the shadow of raids, burglary and drug crime from London”.
He said: “Surrey’s network of motorways, fast A-roads and excellent railway links to London enable gangs from London easy access to our towns and villages and a rapid and effective escape route once they have raided our shops, burgled our homes or dumped drugs into our streets and schools.
“Surrey Police need to focus on increasing patrols in the areas most affected by this spill-over from London’s crime.
“Surrey’s people have been seen as easy picking by London gangs and criminals for far too long.”
Mr O’Shea said he had seen statistical evidence to support his claims but did not know the details when contacted by the Epsom Guardian.
He said: “The data I have looked at does indicate that where there are crimes which relate to drugs, burglaries of houses and raids, there are people coming in from London, committing these crimes, and going back to London again.
“Surrey is a rich area which has a low level of crime so people who come from London see it as an area which is very attractive.”
Mr O’Shea, a businessman and former Mole Valley councillor, said the police need to conduct more patrols in high risk areas, monitor main roads for known criminals from London, and use surveillance cameras to look out for gang members travelling in Surrey.
He added: “We have a huge network of automatic number plate recognition cameras to monitor vehicles on both main roads and motorways.
“If these are not to be seen as an unnecessary intrusion into people’s privacy, they must be seen to be used to monitor our roads for criminals.”
Police and Crime Commissioner
Elections for Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) will take place on November 15.
The winning candidate will be responsible for holding Surrey Police to account on the public’s behalf including appointing and dismissing the chief constable.
He will play a vital role in determining how crime is tackled in Surrey, and ensuring the police provide a good service.
The PCC will be elected by the supplementary vote system in which voters will make a first and second choice from the list of candidates.
There will be a second count of second preference if no candidate gets at least 50 per cent of the votes in the first count.
Candidates nominated so far include Nick O’ Shea (Liberal Democrat), Robert Evans (Labour), Kevin Hurley (Independent), Julie Iles (Conservative), Peter Williams (Independent) and Robert Shatwell (UKIP).
Nominations close on October 19.
A spokesman for Surrey Police Authority said this week that it does not have a list of candidates.