Katy Bourne, the Police and Crime Commissioner wants to know whether Sussex residents are willing to pay more towards policing their county.
Last year 67% of those who responded to the consultation told her they would support an increase of 3.6% in their council tax. The Commissioner believed additional funds were required to enable Sussex Police to respond to emerging crime threats including serious sexual offending and cybercrime.
However the Government set a referendum threshold of 2%. Any local authority wanting to increase their element of the Council Tax (or “precept”) by 2% or more had to win a “Yes” vote. For this reason, and the costs of holding a referendum, the increase was limited to 1.95%.
In the next financial year Katy Bourne wants to increase the precept by 1.98%. Which would mean that a local household living in a Band D property would pay an extra £2.79. She argues additional investment is required:
The Chief Constable has set out a business case for additional funds in 2015/16 to meet the shortfall from last year.
A precept increase in 2015/16 of up to 1.98% would provide additional funding in order to deliver the operational investments Sussex Police need to make. In particular, investigating serious sexual offences and protecting the most vulnerable victims, especially children, remains a key priority for me and the Chief Constable.
Before a final decision’s made residents are being asked to complete an online consultation survey:
The consultation will close on 9th January and the results will help inform a decision in January 2015, which will be reviewed by the Police & Crime Panel.
Over the coming months, other local authorities in our area – East Sussex County Council, Wealden District Council, East Sussex Fire Authority and Crowborough Town Council (or the relevant parish council) – will decide how much to increase their portion of the total Council Tax bill.