Policing Budget Set for 2023/24

Today at a special meeting of the Public Accountability Board, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for South Yorkshire has set the budget for policing for the year ahead, which includes a rise in the council tax precept by the maximum permitted by central government.

The precept is the money provided through council tax that contributes to the police budget.

Central grant funding from the government provides 74 per cent (£238.1 million) of the police budget for South Yorkshire. The remaining 26 per cent (£88 million) is expected to be funded locally by the council taxpayers. This equates to a 6.7 per cent increase in the council tax precept for 2023/24 for South Yorkshire residents, which is below the current rate of inflation.

For those people living in Band D properties this will be an increase of 28 pence per week (£15 per year). Most households in South Yorkshire are in Bands A (the increase will be equivalent to 19 pence per week or £10 per year) and B (22 pence per week or £11.66 per year).

The government sets a cap on the amount of money that police and crime commissioners are allowed to raise through the precept. This year that was set at £15 per year, based on a Band D property.

Dr Alan Billings, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, said: “Setting the precept at the maximum amount has been a very difficult decision this year, as I am more than aware of the financial pressures’ residents are currently facing as the cost of living continues to rise.

“The government does not fully fund policing and expects PCCs to raise funds through the precept. Last year I joined other PCCs in writing to the government to ask them to fully fund police forces by raising the grant in line with inflation  and not pass the burden of paying for policing to hard pressed council taxpayers. Unfortunately, this is not something the government supported.

“In setting the police budget for 2023/24, it is vital that we are able to meet rising costs and ensure the growth in new officers can be sustained so that the Force’s commitment to supporting our communities, which includes local policing, is maintained.

“I also cannot ignore rising business costs. For example, I have to ensure that the budget that I set covers the projected pay costs (pay award/increments and national insurance), utility costs and fuel expenditure, building maintenance and capital investment, ICT systems costs, inflation and uncertainty about pensions. In addition, the Force’s contributions to national programmes and on-going collaborations need to be met.

“This is not the time to be cutting policing services. We know from the past that the cuts to policing during the years of austerity eventually led to rises in crime. As people struggle financially, this is just the moment when we need the protection of the police. If the government won’t fully fund the police, then I am left with little choice other than to set the precept at the maximum amount. Not to do this would put our communities at risk.

“Fortunately, the public do understand this. The consultation results have shown that the majority of respondents are supportive of an increase.”

Between November and early January the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for South Yorkshire undertook a public consultation exercise on the proposal to increase the council tax for South Yorkshire residents.

The consultation was conducted mainly online and was across the PCC’s social media sites and those of our partners (including South Yorkshire Police and local authorities). It was also sent direct to over 55,000 individuals who are signed up to the SYP Alerts system, to over 2,000 recipients of the PCC’s weekly Blog, the OPCC’s engagement contacts database and to the local media.

Residents were asked to indicate if they would be willing to pay an increase in the council tax precept to enable policing levels to be maintained. Of the 2,870 responses there was overwhelming support amongst the public to pay more for policing in the coming year:

  • 1,618 (57%) said they would be willing to pay £10 more per year
  • 740 (26%) said they would be willing to pay a rise in line with inflation
  • 498 (17.44%) said they would not want to pay any more

Within the consultation residents were also asked to identify areas of policing they would like to see prioritised. The most important areas for residents were identified as dealing with neighbourhood crime (including anti-social behaviour, burglary, car theft and robbery), visible patrolling and engaging with communities and tackling child sexual exploitation.

The areas where the public placed the least priority were crowd control at football matches and providing police enquiry desks.

The proposals for the budget and precept were supported by the South Yorkshire leaders of the local authorities in January and by the majority of Police and Crime Panel members (one member abstained) earlier this month (February).

Previous rises in the precept have been used to fund additional police officers who are now coming through the training process and are starting to now become operational in communities.

The following table represents the weekly increase per household by council tax banding:

Weekly (pence)

Band A             0.19

Band B             0.22

Band C             0.26

Band D             0.29

Band E             0.35

Band F             0.42

Band G            0.48

Band H             0.58