Rise in council tax police precept could see more officers on the beat in South Yorkshire

A rise in the police precept contribution paid by residents through Council Tax could lead to more bobbies on the beat across South Yorkshire.

Tuesday, 9th February 2021, 4:45 pm

The rise means a £15 per year increase for a Band D property.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, set the forces budget for the financial year, funded by an increase in the council tax precept of seven per cent.

Members of the Police and Crime Panel have unanimously approved the setting of the precept.

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There could be a rise in the police precept on council tax bills across South Yorkshire

Dr Billings said that although the government will provide some funding towards new officers that are needed, PCC’s across the country have been told that they must contribute towards the cost of these extra officers by raising the precept.

“One hundred and forty nine of the new officers are part of the government’s national uplift and 79 are from local resources.”

“The consultations I have undertaken have shown that the public supports the proposals with 67 per cent accepting the increase in precept.”

Councillor David Nevett, chairman of the Police and Crime Panel, said: “Whilst the increased grant from government is welcomed, it doesn’t cover all force improvements and residents expectations to have a better service.

“Residents want an outstanding Police service, ‘bobbies on the beat’, visibility of hi-vis, well trained officers who serve the public, and officers who catch criminals who blight our communities.

“We recognise that we are in difficult times and appreciate the situation during the pandemic, and have taken into account residents views. From all the information we had, the panel unanimously agreed to accept the proposal to fund the improvements residents expect, and pay for it.”

Dr Billings added that whilst he recognises residents face a difficult time due to the pandemic and financial hardship, there is also extra demand on policing.

He said: “I recognise that there will be some families who will be in a difficult place financially next year, not least because of the impact of the coronavirus on jobs. But I also know that if we are to get on top of crime we need the additional officers.

“The public also tell me of their expectations around increasing the number of police officers in our neighbourhoods and within specialist departments to tackle and prevent crime.

“Over the next three years South Yorkshire Police will have recruited a total of 487 additional officers as our share of the 20,000 the government wants to see recruited nationally, plus a further 220 wholly from local resources.

“Whilst the Government will be providing some funding towards these officers in the form of the Government grant, PCC’s have been told that we have to contribute towards the cost of these extra officers by raising our council tax precept. Doing so will allow me to increase officer numbers, fight crime, support victims and keep the people of South Yorkshire safe.

“However, in order to balance the books, I will still have to ask the force to make substantial savings and I will have to use some of our reserves.”