COUNCIL TAX PRECEPT INCREASE: Funding extra officers for the county

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore has confirmed today he will raise the policing element of the council tax by £2 a month ( for a Band D property) for the next financial year. This will see 29 extra police officers across the county, 24 civilian investigators, a share of 45 police staff with Norfolk and increased investment in technology.

The precept increase will allow the Chief Constable to enhance police visibility and pro-activity across the county, and increase the Constabulary’s capacity to deal with more complex investigations which is what residents of Suffolk have asked for.

Tim Passmore said, “On 13 December the Policing Minister, Nick Hurd made his announcement about police funding for the next financial year. The Minister gave PCCs the ability to raise the policing element of the precept by up to £24 per annum for a Band D property.

“This put me in a very difficult position, but I felt I had no choice but to impose the maximum increase because without it, the policing capability across the county would be compromised.”

At its meeting this morning (Friday 25 January) the Police and Crime Panel supported the PCC’s proposal.

He added, “Difficult decisions need to be made, but the overwhelming view of the public that I talk to say they want more officers policing the county and this proposal gives us exactly that. I held a short survey of my website and of the 868 respondents, 69% supported my proposal.  Every year costs go up but the government funding does not increase at the same rate. My only realistic option is to raise the precept.”

The Chief Constable’s proposal for the next financial year addresses two major concerns – the increase in violent and drug-related crime and improved visibility. The additional funding will see eight new police officers in Ipswich and a targeted squad of 21 officers to fight drugs and serious violence which will operate across the county.

The precept increase will raise £6.5m through the policing element of the council tax, along with the additional home office grant of £1.3m and a one-off grant of £1.2m to help fund the increase in the employers’ contributions to the police pension scheme. In all, the policing budget will be increased by £9.2m.

Once unavoidable cost pressures and savings made throughout the year have been accounted for, this will give the Constabulary a total of £4.8m extra for the policing budget for the next financial year.

Full detail of how this is accounted for is available here:  Precept plans 2019/20.