About Lisa Townsend

Me and my background

I’m Lisa and I have lived in Surrey for over 12 years with my husband Ben.

I have worked in both the public and private sector and served as a Director of companies. Prior to being elected as your Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, I previously worked in a senior role at the Institute of Directors, and throughout my career have managed diverse teams and multi-million-pound budgets. I have two law degrees and, following university, spent over ten years in Parliament where I worked for a number of MPs, representing and supporting residents. Whilst there I also worked alongside charities including Mind and Rethink, as well as the Centre for Mental Health, supporting the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Mental Health in developing policies to put forward to government to improve mental health provision, including parity of esteem.

I am experienced in strategic communications and plan to use this to benefit the residents of Surrey. I want to ensure the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is transparent, regularly updating residents on work and priorities. Because of my experience in this area, I believe it is crucial for the Police and Crime Commissioner, and their team, to be accessible and contactable for all residents and communities.

Throughout my time living here, I have worked and volunteered across our county and have a real understanding of how diverse and special our communities are. Surrey is often generalised as an affluent, white, middle-class commuter county. Whilst this is true of some of our residents, it is certainly not an accurate reflection of the lives of many of our communities, or the diversity which can be found across the county.

Representing you

I am delighted and honoured that local residents have put their faith in me and elected me as Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey. 

I love where we live, and I want our county to be as safe, secure, and enjoyable as possible for all residents. I know the importance of putting local people and their priorities at the heart of policing. My six priorities, which will feed in to my Police and Crime Plan, are based on the issues residents across the county have repeatedly raised with me, and include: tackling anti-social behaviour, improving visible policing, cracking down on county lines, improving road safety and enforcement, setting local policing priorities, and holding the police to account. I am also committed to tackling violence against women and improving protection for children.

Our large towns, including Woking, Guildford and Reigate, have seen challenges in the last year for both businesses and residents due to the pandemic. Simultaneously, we have seen a rise in rural crime across other areas of the county. I know, from conversations with residents across Surrey, that there is great concern around the impact of these challenges on our communities.

By maintaining regular and meaningful engagement with local communities across the county, I will ensure that my policing plan is centred on meeting your needs and concerns. I am committed to consistent contact with communities and residents throughout my time as Police and Crime Commissioner, to ensure the policing plan is frequently updated in line with local needs. I will also ensure that my team and I are accessible and transparent; I want you to feel heard and represented by your Police and Crime Commissioner. 

Our police require both support and a critical friend to ensure our businesses and residents get protection from crime, victim support and safer streets while also achieving value for money. They are stretched more than ever, expected to deal with everything from serious fraud and community crime to mental health emergencies. Our force also deserves fair funding to protect our residents and officers. I want to use my experience in policy and communications to secure the funding and support we need by making the case to the highest levels of Government. 

The role of the police officer is changing, and I want to work with and support our officers in every way I can in their wider community role. Whilst I do not have a background in policing, I believe that the 2000 members of Surrey Police are the experts in operational policing and I am confident that my background in community campaigning, communications, mentoring and management will bring real value to the police and residents of Surrey.   

I do not think that it is necessary to choose between championing our businesses and residents and working closely with the Chief Constable and his teams in order to achieve the best outcomes for all. For me, the PCC role is a crucial link between groups that have, at times, seemed separate when the reality is that we all are safer when we work closely together. 

Through my wider volunteering and working background, I have developed good links outside of Surrey, including with PCCs in other forces whose support will be invaluable, and key representatives and officials in Westminster.

I have a proven track record of holding people of all levels to account. I will ensure that the Chief Constable is accountable for the performance of our police force, acting as both a supporter and a critical friend, to ensure our businesses and residents get protection from crime, victim support and safer streets. I will use my expertise and experience in managing budgets to ensure that every penny of the taxpayer funded policing budget is spent wisely.


Domestic abuse: get help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Call Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free and confidential advice, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247 or through the contact form or live chat service. If you are a male victim, you can access support through the Men’s Advice Helpline on 0808 8010327.