The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner is seeking the views of the public on future policing and crime priorities and the setting of the council tax precept for the coming year.
Dr Alan Billings has today (18 November) launched the consultation process to seek the views of the public before he makes his proposal for the precept for the coming year. South Yorkshire residents are being asked to complete a survey to indicate the policing and crime activities that they would like to see prioritised and identify any areas where they think savings could be made. They are also being asked to indicate if they would be willing to pay a small amount more to maintain policing and crime services.
The police budget is made up of a Government allocation of funding (74%) plus money raised from the Council Tax precept (26%). The precept is the part of the Council Tax that contributes towards the total funding available to the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to provide policing, community safety and victims’ services.
In December the Home Secretary will announce the annual spending assessment that will identify the amount of government funding the PCC will receive for services in South Yorkshire. The remainder will have to be raised through the precept and the PCC will have to propose how much that will be to the Police and Crime Panel before the budget is set early in the new year.
Police and crime commissioners have a statutory duty to consult with residents and make a decision on precept levels for the following year.
The results of the consultation process will help the PCC to decide the level of precept that needs to be set to raise the necessary funds to enable South Yorkshire Police to continue to increase officer numbers and to meet the policing priorities for the year ahead.
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I am fully aware of the financial pressures facing residents this year. The cost of living has risen significantly and everyone is feeling the pinch.
“I joined other PCCs recently in writing to the government to ask them to fully fund police forces and not pass the burden of paying for policing to hard pressed council tax payers.
“However, I believe the government will expect PCCs to raise more funds through the council tax in order to maintain the current level of policing and crime services.
“To allow me to explore the options available I am asking residents to indicate the areas they would like to maintain at current levels and areas where they believe savings could be made and whether they would be willing to pay a little more to avoid cuts.
“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 and I fear we will be putting communities at risk if we go into the next financial year with police forces being under-resourced and stretched.”
Previous rises in the precept have been used to fund additional police officers who are now coming through the training process and will be operational in communities in the coming months.
To have your say on policing priorities and indicate the amount you would be willing to pay to maintain policing services please take a few minutes to complete the short survey. Click here to take the survey.
Residents can check which council tax band their property is in here: www.gov.uk/council-tax-bands