Commissioner asks for views on paying more for policing in South Yorkshire

Dr Alan Billings
Dr Alan Billings

South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner is asking residents for their views on paying more for policing.

He is responsible for setting the amount South Yorkshire residents pay for policing in the county through their council tax.

Three quarters of policing costs are met by the Govenment, with 23 per cent coming from council tax.

The Government has said forces will receive the same amount of funding next year as this year, bur Dr Billings said the cost of policing is going up around £10 million each year.

Dr Billings said: “As one of the lowest spending areas in the country, I am able to increase the average council tax by about 10p per week or £5 per year. One of the implications of me not putting the precept up is that it would become more difficult to ask the Government for additional financial support. In the case of South Yorkshire, this could be quite serious since I have had to ask the Government for additional funding several times in recent years - for such items as the cost of the Hillsborough inquests.

“Even so, increasing the average council tax by 10p per week only brings the same amount of cash for the coming year as this current year. There is no additional money for inflation -

such as the extra costs of salaries, fuel, uniforms, and so on - and it takes no account of the additional demands being placed on the police. These include services to protect the most

vulnerable people in our society, particularly our children, people at risk of domestic abuse and hate crime.

“So, if the money stays the same, but the costs of running the police service are going up, estimated at around an extra £10 million. Savings have to be found if the budget is to

balance.

"I am looking to protect front line service delivery and will be working hard with the Chief Constable to ensure that savings do not impact on local policing. But it does mean

that every department has to think about how it can be more efficient.

“Before I set the precept, I want to obtain your thoughts on whether I should protect funding for local policing as far as possible by increasing the council tax. Do I try to keep the number

of officers and PCSOs at the present level with a modest increase in the precept and some savings, or not?

Visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BUDGETCONSULTATION2017 to have your say.