Measuring performance

Council Tax FAQ

It is the Police and Crime Commissioner’s responsibility to set the level of council tax you pay towards policing, known as the precept.

This page provides more information on the Commissioner’s council tax survey on the amount that Surrey residents will pay towards policing from Surrey council tax between April 2024 and March 2025.

The Surrey Police budget is made up of a central grant from Government and council tax contributions from tax-payers in Surrey. The Police and Crime Commissioner holds responsibility for the Surrey Police budget and assets, which includes setting the amount of council tax that is paid by local people each year to support their police.

Surrey Police is more dependent on the local council tax part of the budget as the grant from Government is lower than in other areas of the country. 45% of the budget comes from the Government, with the remaining 55% provided by council tax.

The Commissioner consults on the level of council tax that is set for the new financial year by holding in depth conversations with the Chief Constable and other senior leaders of Surrey Police, talking with key stakeholders and making a survey available to members of the public.

An online survey is used to gather the views of the public on options for the increase to the council tax in the coming year and is usually held between December and February. It also invites comments that are read by the Commissioner to inform the Proposal that they are required to present to Surrey’s Police and Crime Panel budget meeting in the first week of February.

While the public survey is not a vote that directly decides the level of council tax set in the Commissioner’s Proposal, your views are important as they provide an estimation of the support for different levels of council tax increase and provide feedback to Surrey Police and our office on the service that you expect from the Force.

Once the survey is complete, the Commissioner reviews all information to present a Proposal for the Surrey Police and Office of the PCC Budgets for the coming financial year.

Under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, Surrey’s Police & Crime Panel are asked to consider the proposal and make any recommendations.

If the Panel does not accept the proposed precept, it can be vetoed (declined) by a majority of two thirds of the Panel members present. If this happens, the Commissioner must produce a revised Precept Proposal and an additional meeting is held for the Panel to consider it. The Panel does not have a power to veto the revised Proposal.

The proposed amount of police precept from your council tax will then be included in your Council Tax Bill for the financial year that runs from 01 April to 31 March.

A council tax survey report and council tax leaflet are produced by our Office to provide the public with information on the survey outcomes, the Commissioner’s decision on council tax and how their money will be used by Surrey Police.

Paying for policing is just part of the council tax that you will pay in 2024/25 for services provided by Surrey County Council, your District Council, Town and Parish Councils (if applicable) and well as for police and the social care levy.

The amount for policing, known as the precept, is approximately 14% of your total bill and is combined with funding from central government that makes up the remainder of the Surrey Police budget.

The below tables provide information on the potential amount that you will pay depending on the Proposal that the Commissioner makes to the Police and Crime Panel in February:

Estimated annual council tax amounts for 2024/25 based on a £13 increase for an average Band D property (£1.08 a month):

 Band ABand BBand CBand D
Est. total£215.72£251.66£287.62£323.57
Est. increase from 2022/23£8.67£10.11£11.56£13.00
 Band EBand FBand GBand H
Est. total£395.48£467.38£539.29£647.14
Est. increase from 2022/23£15.8918.78£21.67£26.00

Estimated annual council tax amounts for 2024/25 based on a £12 increase for an average Band D property (£1.00 a month):

 Band ABand BBand CBand D
Est. total£215.05£250.88£286.73£322.57
Est. increase from 2022/23£8.00£9.33£10.67£12.00
 Band EBand FBand GBand H
Est. total£394.26£465.93£537.62£645.14
Est. increase from 2022/23£14.67£17.33£20.00£24.00

Estimated annual council tax amounts for 2024/25 based on a £11 increase for an average Band D property (£0.92 a month):

 Band ABand BBand CBand D
Est. total£214.38£250.11£285.84£321.57
Est. increase from 2022/23£7.33£8.56£9.78£11.00
 Band EBand FBand GBand H
Est. total£393.03£464.49£535.95£643.14
Est. increase from 2022/23£13.44£15.89£18.33£22.00

Estimated annual council tax amounts for 2024/25 based on a £10 increase for an average Band D property (£0.83 a month):

 Band ABand BBand CBand D
Est. total£213.72£249.33£284.95£320.57
Est. increase from 2022/23£6.67£7.78£8.89£10.00
 Band EBand FBand GBand H
Est. total£391.81£463.04£534.29£641.14
Est. increase from 2022/23£12.22£14.44£16.67£20.00

Surrey Police has grown by 333 police officers in the last four years thanks to your council tax contributions alongside the Government’s national uplift programme.

As at February 2024, the Force had 4,200 officers and staff, including 2,299 police officers:


Police officers
(as at 31 March)  
  1,930  1,994  2,114  2,159  2,263

In 2024/25, the operational budget for the PCC’s Office is £1.6m from the total Surrey Police Group budget of £309.7m (0.5%).

The budget for our office is primarily used to provide funding to local services that promote community safety, help victims and reduce reoffending. In 2023/24,we provided over £2m to local services from the budget and secured additional funding from the Home Office that paid for bespoke community safety projects and more support for the survivors of sexual violence, stalking and domestic abuse.

The Commissioner in Surrey receives a salary of £73,300 pa. The Deputy Commissioner receives a salary of £54, 975 pa.

You can view the disclosable interests and expenses for the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner here.

In 2023/24, Surrey Police met its savings target of £1.6m. The Force still needs to save at least £17m over the next four years.

In the last 12 years, the Force has made close to £80m in savings and is on target for the target savings for the current financial year ending 31 March. The Force is currently undergoing a transformation programme that is designed to ensure we provide the best possible value for money for the public.

It is the Commissioner’s responsibility to set a level of precept that is appropriate to support the service provided by your police.

As with other services, inflation is an important factor in how far the police budget goes towards paying for things like fuel and energy. If inflation is high, it means the value of an item or service is likely to be above the usual amount of money that was previously set aside for that purpose.

The UK CPI inflation rate in October 2023 of 4.7% means that all of the options provided in this year’s council tax survey were below inflation at that point in time. A maximum increase of £13 a year based on a Band D property is equivalent to a 4.1% rise across all council tax bands.

Similarly, an option of ‘no increase’, or a ‘freeze’ to the amount you pay would represent a particularly significant cut to the funding that Surrey Police receives. Specifically, it would represent the value of last year’s council tax against the increased costs and demand for policing that are already affecting the service you receive.

For the 2024/25 financial year, Surrey Police estimate that they would need to lose around 160 personnel to make ends meet if there is no increase at all to the level of council tax received.

As the variation in council tax increase is cumulative, meaning a new percentage increase is based on the previous amount set, a significant decrease to council tax in one year would continue to have a negative impact on the value of possible increases in future years.

Most organisations, companies and indeed individuals will try and hold some money in reserve – like a savings account – to deal with unexpected costs, emergencies and to save up for a big investment.

Surrey Police is no different and holds just over £30m in reserves, which is 10% of the total annual budget. This is slightly less than the average for police forces nationally and significantly lower than Borough and District Councils in Surrey who typically who hold up to 150% of their annual budget in reserve.

The Force also has to meet increased pressures on pay, energy and fuel as well as demand on policing. In the next four years, it must make between £17- 20m in savings.

When Surrey Police’s current planned spending is set aside, the Force is left with approximately five weeks’ worth of running costs.

While close to half of the Force’s funding comes from the Government each year, major incidents and investigations such as the Covid-19 pandemic or a terrorist attack would require large amounts of money to be spent quickly, without a guarantee that these costs will be paid back by the Government.

It is of course possible to spend reserves, just as an individual can spend their savings, to cover rising costs or to reduce the level of council tax required from the public.

However, this money can only be spent once. This only delays and makes more difficult the decisions needed to ensure the Force is financially sustainable and that costs are brought in to line with income.

Surrey Police is a large organisation that has a budget of £309m and over 4,000 employees. When setting the budget, every effort is made ensure that as many circumstances as possible are thought of.

Variables that might affect the budget in the coming year include:

  • How many officers and staff are going to retire and when?

  • When will new officers and staff be recruited? 

  • What grants will the Government offer in the year and for what?

  • Will Surrey officers be seconded out of Force? Will there be any national events?

  • Will inflation impact costs?

  • Will an equipment upgrade be done this year?

These and many other questions are assessed when setting the budget and sometimes, unfortunately, a wrong prediction can be made. In 2022/23, this is predicted to result in an underspend of £8.8m which, although it may sound a lot, is just over 2% of the total budget for the year.

In 2023/24, the predicted underspend is £1.2m (as at 31 January 2024).

This money, while welcome, is only a one-off benefit and is therefore put into reserves, or savings, to address future financial challenges.  

Please contact our office to learn more. If you don’t want to send a message, you can call us on 01483 630200.

Please note our office will be closed from 23 December 2023 – 02 January 2024.

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