Welcome to the High Sheriff of Surrey’s Website

This website will inform you about the High Sheriff’s work and activities during their Shrieval Year. It features the areas of life in Surrey upon which the incumbent focuses, with reports upon, and photographs of, visits made to charities, voluntary groups, agencies and organisations, and events attended.

A High Sheriff is appointed personally by the Sovereign and it is an independent, non-political and unpaid office, each occupant funding what they do during their year. It is the oldest secular Office in the UK after the Crown, dating back to Saxon days, when the shire-reeve’s role was one of collecting taxes for the King and preserving the peace. The “millennium” of the Office was celebrated in 1992.

Beginning in the Middle Ages, the Judges of Assize were given hospitality and security whilst visiting a county to try felonies, the most serious criminal offences. The Crown Court replaced the Assizes in 1971, and the High Sheriff’s role has since evolved under the aegis of the High Sheriff Association.

The High Sheriff of Surrey for 2023-2024 is Tim Wates, a Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey and the Chairman of Leatherhead-headquartered Wates Group.

During his year as High Sheriff he will actively raise awareness of issues around mental health and the role that law enforcement officers play in dealing with people with mental illness.

He is also driving forward research – funded by the Wates Family Enterprise Trust and with the participation of the NHS and the Surrey Police – to better understand the challenges police face and how all public services can work together to respond to incidents and secure care for this group of potentially highly vulnerable people.