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Safety Tax

5.54% Council Tax increase proposed for Surrey Police

Cllr Paul Kennedy outside Surrey Police in Guildford

Cllr Paul Kennedy, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner, is urging residents to respond to the latest proposal by incumbent David Munro for a 5.54% increase in the police element of council tax, and is calling for better value for money for taxpayers.

The proposal corresponds to an annual increase of £10 for Band A households, £15 for Band D, and £30 for Band H properties, on top of any increases by Surrey’s local councils. The increase is the maximum permitted without requiring a local referendum of Surrey residents.

If implemented, the proposal will mean the police element of Surrey residents’ council tax has increased by nearly 30% over the term of the current Police Commissioner, who was elected as a Conservative in 2016. Despite this increase in funding from residents, there has been an overall reduction in visible policing, and the proportion of positive outcomes for vulnerable victims has halved.

Cllr Kennedy said: “Like most people I want to see, and would be prepared to pay for, more police on our streets and better performance in preventing and solving crimes, but I want to see better value for money too.

“A further 5.54% increase represents a huge burden on residents who have suffered economically during the pandemic, and Surrey Police’s efficiency still requires improvement according to the latest independent PEEL inspection in September 2019.”

Cllr Kennedy also criticised the Conservative Government, which, with the support of Surrey’s Conservative MPs, has been systematically underfunding Surrey Police and local government since 2015.

Paul added: “Yet again Surrey’s Conservative MPs have let down their constituents, by backing a settlement which forces Surrey residents to fund a higher proportion of police spending than almost any other part of the country. The Conservatives claim they are providing more funding to start restoring police numbers, but the bulk of the increase has to come from increases in council tax.”

Notes:

Details of the proposals can be found here:

https://www.surrey-pcc.gov.uk/2021/01/council-tax-2021-22-would-you-pay-a-bit-more-to-boost-policing-numbers-and-support-officers-and-staff-in-surrey/

The latest PEEL survey of Surrey Police in September 2019 can be found here. Key concerns included a lack of understanding of the force’s own costs and demands for its services, a lack of focus and prioritisation of resources, and an aversion to risk potentially leading to unnecessary bureaucracy.

https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/peel-assessments/peel-2018/surrey/efficiency/