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Police on the beat

Council Tax 2019-20:  Would you be prepared to pay more to increase policing levels in Surrey? 

   Would you be prepared to pay an extra £2 a month in council tax for an additional 100 police officers in Surrey? That is the question Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro is posing to Surrey’s residents as he launches his annual consultation on the police precept for the next financial year.
   The PCC is inviting the public to fill in a short online survey on whether or not they would support a proposed £24 increase for the year based on a Band D property.
   The proposed rise would mean doubling the number of officers in our dedicated neighbourhood teams which support area policing teams across the county while also helping Surrey Police invest in specialist officers to tackle serious organised crime gangs and drug dealers in our communities.
   The survey, which closes at midnight on Monday 28 January, can be found at:
   One of the PCC’s key responsibilities is to set the overall budget for Surrey Police including determining the level of council tax raised for policing in the county known as the precept.
   In December, the Home Office gave PCCs across the country the flexibility to increase the policing element of a Band D Council Tax bill by up to £2 a month – the equivalent of around 10% across all bands. In Surrey, every 1% rise in the police precept equates to around £1m in additional income.
   For Surrey, the PCC’s proposal of £2 a month would mean the policing element of residents’ average Band D council tax increasing from £236.57 to £260.57 a year.
   In return, the PCC has pledged to increase the number of officers and PCSOs in the county by 100 by April 2020. In addition, the extra money would also preserve CCTV provision in the county whilst exploring possibilities for further investment in digital technology to support officers and Surrey Police’s ability to capture and use footage.
PCC David Munro said: “Asking the public for more money at this time of year is one of the most difficult decisions I have to make as Police and Crime Commissioner for this county.
   “The question I am often rightly asked by the Surrey public is “what will I get in return?” During my time in post I have spoken to many residents about policing issues in all four corners of the county and they regularly tell me they want to see more local policing in their communities.
   “This has been at the forefront of my mind when I have been considering what to propose for this year’s policing element of the council tax.
   “The Chief Constable and I agree we want to put more officers and PCSOs in local neighbourhoods to prevent crime and provide that visible reassurance that residents rightly value. We also want more officers to target organised gangs including drug dealers and have more detectives to investigate offences when they do happen.
   “The government settlement has given PCCs the flexibility to increase this year’s precept and I don’t take this responsibility lightly. However, I believe it provides a real opportunity to help put more officers back into our communities which is what I believe the public of Surrey want to see.
   “Having given this very serious thought - my proposal is to increase the precept by the full £2 a month for a Band D property in return for 100 extra police officers.
   “I believe this is the right option for the Surrey public but it is really important to me to get the views and opinions of the people who will be paying it. I would ask everyone to take a minute to fill out our survey and let me know their views which can help me make my decision.”
   To read more about the PCC’s proposal and the reasons for it – click here:

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