No referendum on Sussex Police’s plans to increase its part of council tax by 3.4 per cent

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner ENGSUS00120121218144545
Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner ENGSUS00120121218144545
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Sussex Police’s part of council tax could rise by more than three per cent in April, adding another £5 a year to the average bill.

The proposed decision by Katy Bourne, Sussex’s Police and Crime Commissioner, to increase its precept by 3.4 per cent is due to be scrutinised by the Sussex Police and Crime Panel on Friday (January 22) at 10.30am.

Although most authorities cannot increase their element of council tax by more than two per cent without triggering a referendum, exceptions have been granted to the ten force areas with the lowest precept levels in England, limiting them to a £5 cash increase on Band D properties per annum.

West Sussex county councillor Brad Watson, who chairs the Sussex Police and Crime Panel, said: “The panel is responsible for reviewing the commissioner’s proposed precept and making reports and recommendations. If the panel do not accept the proposed precept it has a power of veto.”

He added: “In the event of a veto the commissioner must produce a revised precept by February 15.

“A provisional meeting date of Thursday 18 February has been arranged for the panel to meet to consider a revised precept and make reports to the commissioner.

“However, the panel does not have the power of veto over the revised precept.”

Also on the agenda there will be a presentation on ‘Progress on the Local Policing Model’, and the Chief Constable’s plan for transforming the way Sussex is policed in the face of financial challenges will also be discussed.

The meeting will be webcast live here.

A report prepared by the PCC’s office reads: “The new investment proposals for 2016/17 are based on the Police and Crime Plan priorities. The most immediate priority areas identified by the Chief Constable are investments in digital forensics and protecting vulnerable people.”

Other investment priorities which will be considered over the next four years include counter terrorism and prevention, neighbourhood policing, firearms, cyber-crime, and further digitisation of policing services, criminal justice, and the implementation of new emergency services network infrastructure.

Mrs Bourne held a public consultation on a proposed council tax precept increase from October to January, with 65.8 per cent of the 3,738 respondents saying they ‘would be prepared to pay for an additional amount of policing’.

In percentage terms the highest support across Sussex for an increase came from Arun district (76.7 per cent), with the lowest level was in Rother (54.9).

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