Proposed police element of council tax rise could pay for more bobbies on the beat

Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner for Suffolk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner for Suffolk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The police element of council tax in Suffolk could rise - but the money would be used to pay for extra officers, it has been said.

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore has confirmed he is proposing to raise the policing element of the council tax by £2 a month.

This equates to £24 a year but the extra money raised will go towards financing 29 new recruits to the force, he said.

This additional resource will allow chief constable Gareth Wilson to put more officers on the street and be more visible to the public, as well as increase the constabulary’s capacity to deal with more complex investigations which is what residents of Suffolk have asked for.

A survey on the PCC’s website is asking whether the public supports his proposals.

The survey asks: “As a council taxpayer in Suffolk, do you agree with my proposal to increase the policing element of the council tax for 2019/20 by £2 a month?”

Mr Passmore said: “On December 13 the policing minister, Nick Hurd, made his announcement about police funding for the next financial year.

“The minister has given PCCs the ability to raise the policing element of the precept by up to £24 per annum for a Band D property.

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“This has put me in a very difficult position, but I feel I have no choice but to consider the maximum increase because without it, the policing capability across the county would be compromised.”

Alongside the new recruits, the council tax increase will see a further 24 Suffolk police staff investigators, a share of 45 police staff with Norfolk and a much-needed investment in technology and equipment to deal with modern-day challenges in the county.

Mr Passmore added: “Difficult decisions need to be made but the overwhelming view of the public that I talk to say they want more officers policing the county and this proposal gives us exactly that.

“Every year costs go up but the government funding does not increase at the same rate. My only realistic option is to raise the precept.”

The PCC will present his proposal to increase council tax to the Police and Crime Panel on January 25 for approval.

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