The Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro’s proposed rise in council tax for policing in return for 100 extra officers in Surrey has today been approved by the county’s Police and Crime Panel.
The decision will mean the policing element of a Band D Council Tax bill will increase by £2 a month – the equivalent of around 10% across all bands.
In return, the PCC has pledged to increase the number of officers and PCSOs in the county by 100 by April 2020.
Surrey Police plan to double the number of officers in the dedicated neighbourhood teams supporting area policing teams across the county while also investing in specialist officers to tackle serious organised crime gangs and drug dealers in our communities.
The rise, which will come into effect from April this year, was unanimously approved by the Panel during a meeting at County Hall in Kingston-upon-Thames earlier today.
It means the cost for the policing part of the council tax for the financial year 2019/20 has been set at £260.57 for a Band D property.
In December, the Home Office gave PCCs across the country the flexibility to increase the amount residents pay in council tax for policing, known as the precept, by a maximum extra £24 a year on a Band D property.
The PCC’s office carried out a public consultation throughout January in which approaching 6,000 people answered a survey with their views on the proposed rise. Over 75% of those who responded were in support of the increase with 25% against.
PCC David Munro said: “Setting the policing element of the council tax is one of the most important decisions I have to make as the Police and Crime Commissioner for this county so I would like to thank all those members of the public who took the time to fill in the survey and give us their views.
“More than three quarters of those who responded agreed with my proposal and this helped inform what was an extremely tough decision which I am pleased has now been approved by the Police and Crime Panel today.
“Asking the public for more money is never an easy option and I have thought long and hard about what is the right thing for the people of Surrey. We must of course make sure we provide the very best value for money possible and in addition to the precept I have instigated an efficiency review within the Force, including my own office, which will look at ensuring we are making every pound count.
“I believe the government settlement this year provides a real opportunity to help put more officers back into our communities which, from talking to residents across the county, is what I believe the public of Surrey want to see.
“We want to put more officers and PCSOs in local neighbourhoods to prevent crime and provide that visible reassurance that residents rightly value. Our consultation included around 4,000 comments from people who responded with their views on policing and I am aware that issues such as police visibility continues to concern residents.
“I will be reading each and every comment we have received and will discuss those issues raised with the Force to see how we can work together to address them.
“Following the approval of my proposal today, I will now be speaking to the Chief Officer team at Surrey Police to carefully plan both this extra uplift of officers and engagement events across every borough in the county to involve the Surrey public in that process.”