Delayed funding news leaves police to consult on assumed 4% tax rise
PUBLISHED: 15:49 13 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:49 13 January 2020
Suffolk's police and crime commissioner (PCC) has proposed increasing the force's share of council tax despite not yet knowing how much funding it will get from the government.
Tim Passmore said he was in the difficult position of having to launch consultation on increasing the precept by an assumed amount, due to a delay in the Home Office funding settlement announcement for 2020/21, caused by the recent general election.
A survey went live on the PCC website on Monday after Mr Passmore said he was assuming an increase of 4% to the precept, which will potentially raise a Band D property bill by 70p a month and a Band B bill by 55p.
The proposal is in addition to Suffolk's share of the 20,000 uplift of officer numbers nationally.
Mr Passmore said: "Since becoming PCC in 2012, each year I have had to make difficult decisions about the policing budget and how much I will ask the Suffolk taxpayer to pay towards the policing element of council tax.
"Unfortunately, the timing of the recent general election has meant that the normal cycle of funding announcements from central government was delayed.
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"This leaves both myself and the chief constable in the difficult position of currently not knowing how much central funding we will receive, or what limits might be imposed on any increase in the policing element of council tax.
"This makes it very difficult to consult on a specific budget proposal, so I'm basing this year's survey on an assumption of a 4% precept increase."
Mr Passmore said the additional resource would allow the chief constable to improve standards of police investigations to bring more offenders to justice, and enhance the constabulary's capacity and capability regarding proactive policing to tackle serious and organised crime, county lines and knife crime.
A new commercial vehicle unit will make Suffolk's roads safer and free-flowing, he said, while additional officers and staff will enhance ability to prevent crime happening in the first place.
If the government caps the precept rise to 3%, the PCC's plans will have to be adapted.
Mr Passmore will present his proposal to the Police and Crime Panel on January 31 for approval.
The survey is available at surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Suffolkprecept20-21 and will close at 5pm on Thursday, January 30.