The Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, has welcomed a unanimous vote of support from the Sussex Police & Crime Panel members who have today (Friday 1st February) backed her decision to increase the police precept by an extra £2 per month (for an average band D property).
Katy Bourne told the Panel:
I know any decision to increase the amount we are asking people to pay is not an easy one to take, and not one that I take lightly.
But despite the increase we will still have the 5th lowest precept in England and Wales, and 75 per cent of households will pay an additional £24 a year or less.
This recommendation was made after substantial online public consultation by the Police and Crime Commissioner, and 13 focus groups held across Sussex, in which people said they would pay more for policing if it increased the visibility of local police.
It also follows discussions that Katy Bourne has had with the Chief Constable and his senior team to understand the demands on Sussex Police. The Force’s analysis of the demands on local policing, investigations, roads policing and the need to vastly improve the 101 service, has led them to request:
- 100 additional PCSOs going back in to the community to provide a reassuring local presence
- 50 additional police officers to add to the recruitment drive already underway. (The Force already plans to recruit 800 officers by 2022. 600 of these are needed to replace officers who leave or retire, and 200 will be additional officers.)
- 50 specialist staff and investigators
Commenting after the meeting, Mrs Bourne said:
I have been lobbying hard to secure the best possible funding arrangements for policing. I am pleased that the Panel has supported my decision to increase the police precept by its maximum for 2019/20, taking full advantage of the flexibility provided by government.
I recognise that any increase in taxation at any level will be challenging for some of our residents and this is not a decision I have taken lightly. However, I believe it’s the right one to further strengthen local policing and to enable the Chief Constable to focus his resources in the areas that the public tell me matter most to them.
Following the precept rise last year and money from reserves, Sussex Police has already embarked on its biggest recruitment programme for ten years, protecting 476 posts under threat and recruiting 270 police officers. Sussex residents have told me that they welcome this but also say they want to see PCSOs back in communities, more police on our roads and a better 101 service.
I am pleased that the Panel have recognised that I have listened intently to what Sussex residents want and what the Chief Constable needs. With their support, we are now able to take this unique opportunity to recruit even more officers and invest in an all round better service.
Following the meeting, Cllr Bill Bentley, chairman of the Sussex Police and Crime Panel said:
Asking residents to pay more is never a decision we take lightly, but the Panel was reassured that the additional money would be used to address the issues our residents tell us are most important to them.
Click to see the members of Sussex Police and Crime Panel and view their agendas and reports.
You can watch the meeting here: