Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner is seeking the views of residents in South Yorkshire on setting the council tax precept for policing for the financial year starting in April 2019.
Last week the Government announced the Provisional Police Grant, providing details of the force-level allocations of central Government funding for 2019/20.
The police budget is made up of the allocation plus money raised from the council tax precept and other government grants. The Government set a limit on the amount of money police and crime commissioners can raise from the precept. This year that amount has been set at a maximum of £16 Band A & B properties, (which make up the majority of households in South Yorkshire) or £24 (£2 per month) for a Band D property.
Dr Billings said: “One of the responsibilities I have as Police and Crime Commissioner is to set the annual budget for policing. A proportion of the cost of policing is paid from the council tax (23%) with most coming directly from the Government via the police grant (77%). The local council tax element – the precept – is set by me. I also have to fund some other services, such as those that help and support victims of crime.
“Whilst I understand that austerity affects everyone in South Yorkshire, I have to balance this against the demand for policing services. Over the last few years the number of police officers reduced dramatically and I now believe that we need to put more officers back into our neighbourhood policing teams and increase the number of officers across the board to meet the demands the Force is facing.
“I am seeking the views of members of the public on raising the precept by the maximum amount allowed to enable the Force to increase police officer numbers over the next few years.
“Throughout the year members of my office have been speaking to people about a potential rise in the precept. Now that we know how much that rise could be we would like to know if the public of South Yorkshire are supportive. To do this we will be out and about in communities seeking views during January. We have also launched a short online survey which I would encourage everyone to fill in and have their say.”
The survey is now closed.