Kevin Hurley claims more tax will keep officers on the streets
THE new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Surrey is calling on people to pay more council tax to avoid a reduction in visible policing.
Kevin Hurley said government cuts will lead to officers being taken off the streets unless people accept what he described as a modest increase.
At a public meeting on Tuesday he said: â€œWhat Iâ€™m asking you to do is consider taking another 50p on your council tax each month to pay for bobbies on the beat.â€
A central government grant funds just over half of the Surrey Police Â£208m revenue budget.
In 2011-12 the grant was reduced by 6.7% and last year there was a further reduction of 6.7%.
The force had to make savings of Â£7.2m in 2012-13.
There will be a further reduction this year and with 83% of the police budget spent on salaries, Mr Hurley said: â€œYou donâ€™t have to be a rocket scientist to see that some are going to have to go.
â€œWhat does this mean in terms of bobbies on the beat or, frankly, someone who comes when you dial 999? Just think about that dilemma.â€
The government, in an att-empt to avoid rises in council tax, has offered 1% grants for the next two years for forces which freeze their precepts.
However, police forces are able to put up their share of council tax by 2%.
Mr Hurley said the 1% gap would mean 50 fewer officers.
Through the public meetings and in an online survey, he is asking taxpayers whether they will accept the 2% rise.
For a band D household, the police share of council tax is currently Â£203.
He argued that the increase would be less than 8p a week.
Taxpayers in Surrey pay the most in the country for policing. The Home Office confirmed last month that the funding formula would be reviewed.
A number of initiatives are being investigated to make savings and bring in extra income.
Surrey Police is in talks with other agencies and councils to investigate how criminal assets can be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Misuse of Drugs Act and various customs acts. Mr Hurley said that if Surrey Police seizes assets working with local councils each will receive half of the proceeds.
A review has also been launched looking at the closure of stations. with a view to considering which can be kept open.
The Surrey force is also looking at the viability of sharing more functions, back office staff and senior officers with other forces.
There will be public meetings in each borough over the coming months for residents to express their views, but places are already limited.
To book call 01483 630 200, email [email protected] or write to PO Box 412, Guildford, Surrey GU3 1BR.
‘Pay more council tax for more bobbies on the beat’