Police precept rise ‘not to plug hole in budget’

Residents in 1066 Country will pay more to Sussex Police following an increase in the force’s share of the council tax but the extra funds will not be used to ‘plug holes in the budget’.

The Sussex Police budget includes a 1.98 per cent increase in its council tax precept, the equivalent to an additional £2.79 per household, per year on a Band D property.

At a meeting last Friday (January 23), the Sussex Police and Crime Panel quizzed Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne on plans for the force and the reason behind the precept increase.

The rise in the force’s share of council tax will achieve an additional £2.6 million for Sussex Police, money that Ms Bourne assured the panel would be used to improve the service and not plug holes in the budget.

The extra funding will be targeted at providing mobile devices for frontline officers, recruiting Sexual Offence Liaison Officers for investigations into sexual offences, high risk domestic abuse, child abuse and sexual exploitation.

There were suggestions from members of the panel that Sussex Police could freeze its share of the council tax and take advantage of a promised Government grant.

But Ms Bourne told members: “We don’t know how long the grant will last for – the £1.6 million increase in the budget will stay, so is worth a lot more than the £800,000 grant for freezing.”

At last Friday’s meeting the panel voted in favour of the budget.