PCC welcomes support from scrutiny panel to increase council tax to protect local policing
Katy Bourne, the county’s Police & Crime Commissioner has welcomed the support of local Councillors on the Sussex Police & Crime Panel who have today (Friday 19 January) backed her decision to increase the police precept by £12 per year (for an average band D property).
The decision was one of the recommendations made in the Commissioner’s Medium Term Financial Strategy which sets out the financial context that Sussex Police is operating in and the measures Mrs Bourne has taken to secure additional funding for local policing.
Commenting after the meeting, Mrs Bourne said: "I have been lobbying hard to secure the best possible funding arrangements for policing and I am pleased that the Panel has supported my decision to increase the police precept in 2018/19.
"I recognise that any increase in taxation at any level will be challenging for some of our residents and this is not a decision I have taken lightly. However, I believe it’s the right one to protect police officer and staff posts, sustain our local police service and enable the Chief Constable to focus his resources in the areas that the public tell me matter most to them.
"In late December, the Government agreed to provide the same level of funding to local forces as last year, as well as providing more for counter-terrorism and national policing priorities.
"Sussex Police was facing a £26.5m funding gap which meant that around 480 posts would ultimately be lost by 2022.
"To help mitigate this savings target, I had already authorised the release of £17m from reserves before we knew what the Government settlement was.
"The Government has since made it clear that an increasing proportion of policing costs will have to be met by local council taxpayers. This is part of an evolving model of fiscal devolution which local authorities are also experiencing. Police and Crime Commissioners had previously lobbied for the Government to lift the cap on the police precept, and this has now been allowed in the grant announcement which is why I am able to increase the precept in Sussex by £12."
Notes for editors
Background on Sussex Police funding:
- Sussex Police has the 5th lowest precept of any PCC area in England and Wales.
- The Force also receives the 7th lowest total funding per head of population at £160.90.
- The precept for a Band D property in Sussex is £153.91 whilst the precept for Surrey is £224.57.
- The Precept currently makes up 36% of funding for Sussex Police and this will rise to 38% this year.