Commissioner asking for council tax rise to fund more police

SURREY’S Police and Crime Commissioner is again asking householders to support an above-inflation rise in the police share of council tax, to fund more officers and increased resources for the county force.

David Munro is proposing a 5.5% increase in the policing precept, which would mean a Band D property paying an extra £15 on its contribution for the 2021-22 tax year.

Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro with Chief Constable Gavin Stephens

He says the proposed rise – to £285.5 for Band D – coupled with Surrey Police’s next allocation from the 20,000 officers being paid for by the Government, would mean the force could add an extra 150 officers and staff over the coming year.

“We are living through an incredibly difficult time, so deciding what I think the public should pay for their policing in Surrey over the next year is one of the hardest tasks I have faced as police and crime commissioner,” said Mr Munro.

“Our police officers and staff have faced unprecedented challenges in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, putting themselves and their loved ones at risk to keep us safe. I believe the role they play in our communities during these uncertain days is more important than ever.

“Residents have consistently told me that they really value their police teams and would like to see more of them in our communities. This remains a priority for me and after years of government cuts to our police service.”

In the lead-up to the 2020-21 council tax being settled, 60% of the more than 3,000 people who took part in Mr Munro’s public consultation supported a 5% rise in the precept. It was actually increased by 3.8% following the delayed but improved government policing settlement.

Mr Munro similarly won public support for an above-inflation £10 precept increase for the previous year, in order to pay for up to 100 police officers and community support officers.

“We have a real opportunity to continue the significant strides we have made in the last few years in recruiting those badly-needed extra numbers to the Surrey Police frontline,” he said.

“That is why I am proposing a 5.5% increase in the police element of council tax, which would mean we could bolster officer and staff numbers in those crucial roles needed to increase visibility, improve our public contact and provide essential operational support to our frontline officers.

“It is always difficult to ask the public to pay more, particularly in these troubled times. That is why it is important to me to get the views and opinions of the public, so I ask everyone to take a minute to fill out our survey and let me know their thoughts.”

Householders can take part in the council tax consultation by clicking on the Get Involved tab at www.surrey-pcc.gov.uk or by visiting www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/SurreyPCCprecept/. The consultation will close at 9am on Friday 5 February.

For more on this story, see the 21 January edition of the News & Mail

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