As PCC I have a statutory obligation to set the police precept – the amount Sussex residents pay for policing in their Council Tax.
I need to consider the case to secure additional funding for policing in Sussex next year and I welcome residents’ views on whether or not I should seek a precept increase in 2015/16.
In my first year in office I fulfilled my election pledge to freeze the precept meaning residents paid the same amount for policing in Sussex for four years.
Last year local taxpayers told me they would support a precept increase of 3.6%, which equates to an additional £4.95 per year per household (for a Band D property). This investment was required to fund additional resources to enable Sussex Police to respond to emerging crime threats including serious sexual offending and cybercrime as well as increasing the efficiency of officers on the frontline.
67% of those who responded to the consultation supported an increase in the precept. The Police and Crime Panel – who hold the important role of scrutinising my decisions – also endorsed the proposed rise. However, due to a limit, set nationally, on the amount that the precept could rise before triggering a costly referendum, I was only able to increase the precept in Sussex by 1.95% (£2.70 per household per year).
Despite this, good progress has been achieved in those areas of operational policing that required additional investment. However, the Chief Constable has set out a business case for additional funds in 2015/16 to meet the shortfall from last year.
A precept increase in 2015/16 of up to 1.98% would provide additional funding in order to deliver the operational investments Sussex Police need to make. In particular, investigating serious sexual offences and protecting the most vulnerable victims, especially children, remains a key priority for me and the Chief Constable.
This means that a local household living in a Band D property would pay an extra £2.79 per year for policing. However, at £143.91 per year, Sussex would still have the 4th lowest precept level in England and Wales.
As a voice for local people on policing and crime it’s very important that I know if Sussex residents are willing to pay more towards policing in their county.
The online survey can be accessed on the following link: http://www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/public-consultations/. Printed copies are also available from my office. Telephone: 01273 481561 or email: email@example.com.
The consultation will close on Friday 9 January and the results will help inform a decision in January 2015, which will be reviewed by the Police & Crime Panel.
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner