Council tax bills to rise as police precept increase approved

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner,is frustrated at the failure of the Maple Park b

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner,is frustrated at the failure of the Maple Park bid. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Suffolk households can expect to pay more towards funding the police following approval of plans to increase the constabulary's share of council tax.

The county's Police and Crime Panel rubber-stamped proposals for the precept to rise by 6.71% – a few pence short of the government's mandated £15 maximum from April.

Residents of Band D properties will pay an extra £14.94 for the 2021/22 financial year after the police and crime commissioner (PCC) successfully put forward plans at a meeting on Friday.

The panel voted nine to three against vetoing the proposal, which PCC Tim Passmore said would enable the force to deliver a balanced budget and gain additional funding of £2.6m.

More than 1,100 responded to a survey on the PCC's website before Thursday's deadline – with about 70% in support of another precept rise, following successive annual increases of about £12, £24 and £10 per year for Band D properties.

About two thirds of total funding currently comes directly from government grants, with the rest generated from the council tax precept. 

Policing minister Kit Malthouse gave police and crime commissioners (PCCs) the ability to increase their share of the precept by up to £15 for a Band D property in the next financial year.

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Mr Passmore said the £3.8m extra funding would help take the total of additional police officers recruited to the force in the next financial year to about 70 – including the 51 allocated in the second phase of the Operation Uplift drive to hire 20,000 more officers nationally by March 2023.

He said the force would be able to recruit 27 civilians to provide specialist support for officers in the form of digital and intelligence expertise, while funding improved communications in the contact and control room (CCR) at police headquarters. 

Mr Passmore told the panel: "This year has been a particularly difficult decision. We're all painfully aware of the dire economic situation the whole country faces at the moment. 

"I really understand the difficulty some face with paying council tax – and I wouldn't be putting this proposal forward if I didn't think it was necessary."