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Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore asks public opinion of new council tax increase proposals with online survey

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The Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is asking the public for their views on a proposed increase in the council tax for some properties for the next financial year.

The proposal will see the council tax of Band D properties rise by 19p a week and would aim to target improvements in contact and control services.

Tim Passmore (PCC) is now asking Suffolk taxpayers for their thoughts on the proposal with a survey, running until Thursday January 27.

PCC Tim Passmore proposes a 19p per week council tax increase for Band D properties to help improve contact and control services
PCC Tim Passmore proposes a 19p per week council tax increase for Band D properties to help improve contact and control services

This comes after Policing Minister Kit Malthouse gave PCCs the ability to raise the the precept by up to £10 per annum for a Band D property for the next financial year.

If approved, proposals will provide extra funding for 101 call answering and digital opportunities for multi-channel contact and provide additional capacity to effectively manage threat, harm and risk.

It would also enable the Constabulary to invest in technology to be more efficient and effective, and raise service standards.

Tim Passmore said, “As your Police and Crime Commissioner, setting the budget is one of my most important responsibilities. I must ensure that the Chief Constable has the resources he needs to provide an efficient and effective service, whilst ensuring that I use Suffolk taxpayers’ money resourcefully.

“Our funding from Government this year is just not enough, even with the savings programme already agreed. I need to increase the precept to maintain the level of service we currently receive. The full £10 increase (for a band D property) will give us an extra £2.5m for policing in the county. Over £1million will be used to fund existing commitments, such as inflation and pay, which leaves £1.4m to invest in the control room.

“In all my public engagement, including the recent consultation on my new Police and Crime Plan, the one thing that came through loud and clear was the public’s dissatisfaction with the 101 service. It is absolutely crucial I address these concerns.

“I have worked closely with the Chief Constable to agree how the potential funding will be allocated. It is a difficult balance but one that I believe meets the needs of the council taxpayer. I hope people will take the opportunity to respond to the survey and let me know their thoughts.”

The proposed investment of £1.4m would mean the recruitment of more staff to deal with emergency calls in the contact and control room, based at Martlesham Police Headquaters. Additional police sergeants could also be recruited to manage operations.

Chief Constable, Steve Jupp said, “At a time when demands on policing are growing exponentially it is essential that the Contact and Control room (CCR) is properly resourced and equipped to deliver a high-quality service and ensure Suffolk continues to be a safe place in which to live, work, travel and invest. The importance of the CCR cannot be overstated as it performs a crucial service to the public and the Constabulary.

“As part of their inspection of Suffolk Constabulary in 2021, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) identified a number of areas for improvement in the CCR that to address will require an increase in staffing. These include improving the assessment of threat, harm and risk in calls received, the deployment of resources and better identification of vulnerability.”

The PCC will present his proposal to increase the policing element of the council tax to the Police and Crime Panel on January 28th for their approval. The papers for this meeting will be published five days before on Suffolk County Council’s website.

Anyone not able to take part in the electronic survey can write to the PCC at The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Suffolk Police HQ, Portal Avenue, Martlesham Heath IP5 3QS, answering the following question:

Do you agree with my proposal to increase the policing element of the council tax for 2022/23 by 19p a week (based on a Band D property)? with a clear YES or NO and include any comment you wish to make.

The written response needs to be in the office by 5pm on Wednesday 26th January 2022.

To access the online survey, click here.