Extra officers and staff will be added to the Surrey Police establishment over the next year after Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro’s proposed council tax precept rise was approved earlier today.
The PCC’s suggested 3.84% increase for the policing element of the council tax was given the green light by the county’s Police and Crime Panel during a meeting at County Hall in Kingston-upon-Thames this morning.
It means that Surrey Police will be able to invest in further officer and staff posts to add to the 78 police officers that have been promised by government as Surrey’s initial share of the national programme to recruit 20,000.
In total, the combined funding will allow the Force to add around 100 police officer posts and 50 staff roles to its establishment during 2020/21.
These roles will bolster the neighbourhood policing service across the county, help tackle issues such as burglary, serious organised crime and drugs, support prevention work and help maximise technology in the fight against online crime.
This in addition to the extra 79 officers and frontline staff paid for by last year’s precept rise which also prevented the loss of 25 other posts. Those recruits will all be in post or doing their training by May this year.
Today’s decision will mean the policing element of an average Band D Council Tax bill will be set at £270.57 – an increase of £10 a year. It equates to around a 3.83% increase across all council tax bands.
The PCC’s office carried out a public consultation throughout January in which over 3,100 respondents answered a survey with their views on either a 2% inflationary increase or a 5% increase to further invest in more officers and staff. That 5% figure was adjusted to 3.83% in late January to reflect the maximum level the government will allow PCCs to raise as part of this year’s police settlement – the announcement of which was delayed due to the General Election.
Over 60% of those who responded were in support of the larger increase with around 40% preferring the 2% rise.
PCC David Munro said: “The combination of this year’s precept and the officer uplift promised by government means Surrey Police can strengthen their service by 150 officers and staff over the next year.
“After a decade where police resources have been stretched to the limit – this is really good news for Surrey meaning we can put more officers back into our communities tackling those issues that matter to our residents.
“Asking the public for more money is one of the hardest decisions I have to make as the Police and Crime Commissioner for this county. But I believe this increase approved by the Panel today will make a big difference in helping boost both the visible presence that the public rightly value while providing the resources to tackle growing issues such as cyber-crime.
“I would like to thank all those members of the public who took the time to fill in our survey and give us their views. We received over 1,700 comments from people on policing in this county and I promise I will be reading each and every comment. I will then discuss those issues raised with the Force to see how we can work together to address them.
“We must of course now make sure we provide the very best value for money for residents and to get these new officers and staff recruited, trained and serving the Surrey public as soon as possible.”