SURREY residents are being urged to have their say on how much they would pay to support policing teams in their communities over the coming year.

Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend has launched a survey on asking residents if they would support an increase of up to £1.25 per month in council tax to sustain current policing levels in the county.

The poll will close at noon on Monday 16 January.

As part of her role, Commissioner Townsend is responsible for setting the overall budget for the Surrey Police, including determining the council tax specifically raised for policing in the county, known as the precept.

The survey offers three options:

* An extra £15 per year on the average council tax bill to maintain current levels and improve services,

* between £10 and £15 extra per year to keep the force afloat,

* or less than £10, which would result in a reduction in service to communities.

Surrey Police is funded through both the precept and a grant from the central government. This year, the Home Office has based its funding on the expectation that commissioners around the country will increase the precept by an additional £15 per year.

Commissioner Townsend has emphasised the importance of maintaining current levels of service and the need to find £21.5 million in savings over the next four years.

Lisa said: “We’ve already had a good response to the survey, and I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to have their say.

“I’d also like to encourage anyone who hasn’t yet had time to quickly do so. It takes just a minute or two, and I’d love to know your thoughts.

“Asking residents for more money this year has been an extremely difficult decision.

“I am well aware that the cost of living crisis is impacting every household in the county. But with inflation continuing to rise, a council tax increase will be necessary just to allow Surrey Police to maintain its current position. Over the next four years, the force must find £21.5 million in savings.

“There are many good news stories to tell. Surrey is one of the safest places to live in the country, and progress is being made in areas of concern for our residents, including the number of burglaries that are being solved.

“We are also on track to recruit almost 100 new officers as part of the government’s national uplift programme, meaning more than 450 extra officers and operational staff will have been brought into the force since 2019.

“However, I don’t want to risk taking a step backwards in the services we provide. I spend much of my time consulting with residents and hearing about the issues that matter most to them, and I’d now ask the Surrey public for their continued support.”