Kevin Hurley proposes 1.99% council tax increase for policing

A COUNCIL tax increase of 1.99% for policing will help rid the streets of paedophiles and fraudsters – that’s the message from Surrey’s Police & Crime Commissioner after he signed off plans for a hike in our annual bills on Thursday last week.

Kevin Hurley also explained that the rise will enable the force to respond to a greater amount of 999 calls more efficiently.

“While the Chancellor stated in his Autumn Statement that there will be ‘real-term protection for police funding’, this was dependent on individual Police & Crime Commissioners increasing the amount we ask the public to pay towards policing,” explained the county chief, who estimated the increase in costs to be worth £3.3 million.

Mr Hurley added that the proposals came with the backing of the Police & Crime Panel, and were necessary to maintain local services.

“This extra money – costing just £4.30 more per year for a Band D household – will ensure that Surrey Police have the tools they need to hunt down paedophiles, crack down on fraudsters who target the elderly and vulnerable in our society, and respond more quickly to emergency calls for help.”

The proposal follows the recent launch of a county-wide advertising campaign asking the public to think twice before they call 999 or 101 and consider: ‘Is it a Policing Matter?’

Deputy Chief Constable Gavin Stephens explained: “As part of our Policing In Your Neighbourhood project, we have already
explained how our demand is increasing: for example over the last three years we have seen a 153% increase in reports of rape, a 122% increase in reports of sexual offences, a 34% increase in reports of domestic violence and a 75% increase in the reports of violence with injury offences.

“In light of this, we need to invest more, supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities. Last year we dealt with 10,270 requests that should have been dealt with in a different way or by a more appropriate agency.

“In most cases we know that members of the public don’t know who to call and so they call us.

“But instances of things such as fly-tipping, inconsiderate parking and noise pollution are all things for your local council to deal with while concerns regarding mental health issues are generally more appropriately dealt with by a healthcare provider.

“If a call is a policing matter we are also using this campaign to highlight the difference between what is an emergency and what is not. Calls to 999 should only be made for serious crimes, crimes in action, or if someone’s life is in danger.

“If it is a policing matter but does not fall into those categories, we ask the public to report online or call 101 anytime.”

The new local policing model was unveiled in November 2015 and will go live on 3 April.

Changes to frontline services will see local policing teams grow as we will have more officers working for a specific borough or
district, tackling local problems and supporting smaller but still dedicated Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

The Policing Matters campaign will see a series of advertising across TV, radio, cinema, bus backs and posters.

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