Government scuppers police council tax rise

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner
Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner

Sussex Police has “gone back to the drawing board” after its plans to increase council tax by almost £5 were scuppered by the government.

Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne proposed increasing the force’s portion of council tax bills by £4.95 per year per band D household, claiming the idea was met with an overwhelming yes from taxpayers.

But, during an accountability meeting on Friday afternoon (February 21), Mrs Bourne revealed the proposed increase has been dramatically slashed by nearly half due to a cap by central Government.

Deputy Chief Constable Giles York said money from the increase would have been used to reduce the amount of time officers spent at their desks inputing data.

He said: “Everything I have asked for in the budget is deemed essential.

“It’s about timing and facing the issues as they come through.

“We’ve gone back to the drawing board.

“It’s such a fundamental game-changer to input data out and about.”

Money from the council tax rise would have also been poured into frontline policing.

But Mr York said the force was still committed to increasing the visibility of officers on the street.

Earlier this year, Mrs Bourne claimed more than half of respondents to a Sussex Police survey said they would support a proposed increase in the policing part of council tax.

The public’s opinion was sought during a public consultation period between October 30 2013 and January 10.

The survey revealed that 67 per cent of respondents would support the increase.

Mrs Bourne indicated the rise of near £5 was the highest option available without triggering a referendum.

She added Sussex Police received the fourth lowest funding compared to all other forces across the country.