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Police and Crime Commissioner vows police teams will have the “tools to take the fight to criminals in our communities” after council tax increase goes ahead

The Police and Crime Commissioner, Lisa Townsend, said Surrey Police teams will be given the tools to tackle those crimes important to our communities over the coming year after it was confirmed her proposed council tax rise will go ahead earlier today.

The Commissioner’s suggested 4.2% increase for the policing element of the council tax was discussed at a meeting of the county’s Police and Crime Panel this morning, after 3,300 residents shared their views in her council tax consultation this winter.

Lisa said it means the new Chief Constable Tim De Meyer’s plan for policing in Surrey will be fully supported, allowing officers to focus on what they do best and maintain a visible presence that tackles pockets of lawlessness in the county.

She said she was grateful to every person who took the time to complete her survey, that asked Surrey residents whether they would be prepared to pay the suggested £13 extra a year on their council tax bill, a figure between £10 and £13, or a figure lower than £10.

41% of respondents said they would support the £13 increase, 11% voted for £12, and 2% said they would be prepared to pay £11. A further 7% voted for a £10 a year, while the remaining 39% opted for a figure below £10.

In his blueprint for the Force – which he outlined to residents during a recent series of community events across Surrey – the Chief Constable said his officers will pursue the most prolific offenders in our communities, crack down on anti-social behaviour and drive out drug dealers and shoplifting gangs.

He also wants to substantially increase the number of crimes detected and offenders put before the courts and has vowed to ensure that calls for help from the public are answered more quickly.

The 14 Panel members present voted on the Commissioner’s proposal with seven votes for and seven votes against. The Chair cast a deciding vote against. However, there were insufficient votes to veto the proposal and the Panel accepted the PCC’s precept will come into effect.

The policing element of an average Band D Council Tax bill will now be set at £323.57, an increase of £13 a year or £1.08 a month. You can see how much you will pay for your property Band here.

Those who responded to the survey were also asked their views on what issues and crimes they would like to see Surrey Police prioritise during 2024/5. They pinpointed burglary, anti-social behaviour and drug crime as the three areas of policing they would most like to see focused on over the coming year.

For every pound of the precept level set, Surrey Police is funded by an extra half a million pounds and the Commissioner thanked the county’s residents for the huge difference their council tax contributions make to hard-working officers and staff.

She said that even with the precept increase this year, Surrey Police will still need to find around £18m of savings over the next four years and that she would work with the Force to provide the best value for money for residents.

“Surrey residents have told us loud and clear that they want their police to be there when they need them, to answer their calls for help as quickly as possible and to tackle those crimes which blight their everyday lives in our communities.

“This is why I believe that supporting our policing teams has never been more important than it is today and I need to ensure the Chief Constable has the right tools to take the fight to the criminals.

“The contributions the Surrey public make through their council tax will make a vital difference to our hard working officers and staff – but I am under no illusion that the cost of living crisis continues to put a huge strain on everyone’s resources and asking the public for more money has been incredibly difficult.

“I have to balance that with providing an effective police service that puts tackling those issues, which I know are so important to our communities, at the heart of it what does.

“Surrey Police has worked extremely hard to not only meet but surpass the government’s target for extra officers, meaning the Force has the most officers in its history which is fantastic news.

“Today’s decision will mean they can receive the right support to deliver the Chief Constable’s plan and make our communities even safer for our residents.”Read more.

Announcement issued by Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner on Friday 2nd February 2024