Time is running out for Surrey residents to have their say on how much they’re prepared to pay to support policing teams in their communities over the coming year.
Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend has urged everyone living in the county to share their views on her council tax survey for 2023/24 at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/counciltax2023/
The poll will close at 12noon on this Monday, January 16. Residents are being asked if they’d support a small increase of up to £1.25 a month in council tax so policing levels can be sustained in Surrey.
One of Lisa’s key responsibilities is to set the overall budget for the Force. This includes determining the level of council tax specifically raised for policing in the county, which is known as the precept.
Three options are available in the survey – an extra £15 a year on an average council tax bill, which would help Surrey Police maintain its current position and look to improve services, between £10 and £15 extra a year, which will allow the Force to keep its head above water, or less than £10, which would likely mean a reduction in service to communities.
The Force is funded by both the precept and a grant from central government.
This year, Home Office funding will be based on the expectation that Commissioners around the country will increase the precept by an extra £15 a year.
Lisa said: “We’ve already had a good response to the survey, and I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to have their say.
“I’d also like to encourage anyone who hasn’t yet had time to quickly do so. It takes just a minute or two, and I’d love to know your thoughts.
‘Good news stories’
“Asking residents for more money this year has been an extremely difficult decision.
“I am well aware that the cost of living crisis is impacting every household in the county. But with inflation continuing to rise, a council tax increase will be necessary just to allow Surrey Police to maintain its current position. Over the next four years, the Force must find £21.5million in savings.
“There are many good news stories to tell. Surrey is one of the safest places to live in the country, and progress is being made in areas of concern for our residents, including the number of burglaries that are being solved.
“We are also on track to recruit almost 100 new officers as part of the government’s national uplift programme, meaning more than 450 extra officers and operational staff will have been brought into the Force since 2019.
“However, I don’t want to risk taking a step backwards in the services we provide. I spend much of my time consulting with residents and hearing about the issues that matter most to them, and I’d now ask the Surrey public for their continued support.”