THE policing element of local council tax bills is to rise by 5.07%, after the Police and Crime Commissioner saw her proposed increase agreed today.

The county’s Police and Crime Panel voted to support the proposal during a meeting at which the overall budget plans for Surrey Police were outlined. This included the level of council tax raised for policing in the county, known as the precept, which funds the Force together with a grant from central government.

Commissioner Lisa Townsend said the increase means frontline policing across Surrey will be protected over the coming year.

“I am all too aware the cost of living crisis is putting a huge squeeze on everyone’s finances,” she said. “But the harsh reality is that policing is also being seriously impacted by the current financial climate too.

“There is huge pressure on pay, energy and fuel costs and the stark rise in inflation means the Surrey Police budget is under considerable strain like never before.”

The 5.07% across all council tax bands means the policing element of an average Band D tax bill will now be set at £310.57 – an increase of £15 a year or £1.25 a month.

For every pound of the precept level set, Surrey Police is funded by an extra half a million pounds.

There were 3,100 respondents to a public consultation through December and early January, which gave three options – whether residents would be prepared to pay the suggested £15 extra a year on their council tax bill, a figure between £10 and £15, or a figure lower than £10.

The PCC’s office said 57% of respondents supported the £15 increase, 12% voted for a figure between £10 and £15, and the remaining 31% said they would be willing to pay a lower figure.

Those who responded to the survey pinpointed burglary, anti-social behaviour and preventing neighbourhood crime as the three areas of policing they would most like to see Surrey Police focus on over the coming year.

“When I was elected as commissioner in 2021, I committed to put as many police officers on our streets as possible and since I have been in post, the public have told me loud and clear that is what they want to see,” said Mrs Townsend.

“Surrey Police is currently on track to recruit the extra 98 police officers which is Surrey’s share this year of the government’s national uplift programme, which I know residents are eager to see out in our communities.

“That will mean over 450 extra officers and operational policing staff will have been recruited into the Force since 2019, which I believe will make Surrey Police the strongest it has been in a generation.”