Dr Alan Billings, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, has increased the council tax precept for the police service by 3.26% for 2017/18, the maximum permitted by central government. This equates to an increase of about 6p per week for the majority of South Yorkshire council tax payers who are in Band A properties.
The Commissioner’s decision follows consultations with the Police and Crime Panel, who approved his proposal, and with the public across each of the districts of Barnsley, Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster, which found that 90% of those asked were willing to pay a little more for policing. But people were clear that they wanted officer and PCSO numbers kept at present levels.
Dr Billings said: “I have listened to what people have said. By putting up the council tax precept for police services by a small amount, we are able to avoid redundancies among Police Staff and keep Police Officer and Police Community Support Officer numbers at around the same level next year as this.
“Even so, this still requires the police service to find further savings. This is because the police grant from central government has been cut and there will be extra costs due to such things as increases in salaries and utility bills which are ignored by central government.”
“A pattern is developing. The government is cutting the amount it gives to Police and Crime Commissioners year on year and making us find the difference locally. This is manifestly unfair because in an area like South Yorkshire, council tax payers are nowhere near as wealthy as other parts of the country, such as Surrey.”