Residents are being asked for their views on the setting of the council tax precept for policing for the financial year starting in April 2021.
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner is today launching 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 say how much extra they would be willing to pay for policing.
The police budget is made up of a Government allocation of funding (76%) plus money raised from the Council Tax precept (24%). The precept is the part of the Council Tax that contributes towards the total funding available to the Police and Crime Commissioner to provide policing, community safety and victims’ services.
In the annual spending assessment announcement yesterday, Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Priti Patel said the South Yorkshire Police budget for 2021/22 will be £295.4 million – subject to police and crime commissioners raising the council tax precept by the maximum amount of £15 per annum (based on a band D property). The Home Office grant amounts to £220.8 million and the remainder is raised from the precept.
Police and crime commissioners have a duty to consult with residents and make a decision on precept levels for 2021/22 to propose to the Police and Crime Panel before the budget is set early next year.
The results of the consultation process will help the Police and Crime Commissioner to decide the level of precept that needs to be set to raise the necessary funds to enable an increase in police officer numbers and to meet the policing priorities for the year ahead.
Dr Billings said: “The government has committed, during the lifetime of this parliament, to restore the police numbers that were cut between 2010 and 2019 – 20,000 nationwide – and we have started to do that.
“But next year, government grant will not be enough to allow us to recruit further officers, and pay for the existing service, without an increase in the precept. The government has recognised that and is allowing Police and Crime Commissioners to increase the precept by up to £15 per year for a Band D property.
“I recognise that there will be many families who will be in a difficult place financially next year, not least because of the impact of the coronavirus on jobs. But I also know that if we are to get on top of crime we need the additional officers.
“I believe, therefore, that I will have to set a precept close to what the government is allowing. Even so, in order to balance the books, I will have to ask the force to make substantial savings. But this precept would enable me to increase officer numbers, fight crime, support victims and keep the people of South Yorkshire safe.
“In order to help me do this I am seeking the views of members of the public to find out if they are willing to pay a little bit more, and if so, how much more.”
The online survey is available now and can be completed here: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VVL6BP8
The survey will close at 5pm on Friday 15 January 2020.
Residents can check which council tax band their property is in here: www.gov.uk/council-tax-bands