Sussex Police will hire hundreds of staff if council tax increases

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne is proposing a council tax rise to pay for extra staff
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne is proposing a council tax rise to pay for extra staff

A maximum council tax rise would allow Sussex Police to employ 200 extra staff if approved.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne is set to propose the rise at a police and crime panel meeting next Friday (February 1).

The maximum permitted increase would mean £24 a year extra for average council tax payers living in Band D properties from April.

The extra money would pay for 100 new Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), 50 more police officers and another 50 specialist staff.

This is after a substantial public consultation which backed a rise and 13 focus groups held across Sussex.

Mrs Bourne has also been in close discussion with the Chief Constable and his senior team to understand the demands on Sussex Police.

The force’s analysis of the demands on local policing and investigations and roads policing, and the need to vastly improve the 101 service, has led them to request:

· 100 additional PCSOs going back in to the community to provide a reassuring local presence

· 50 additional police officers to add to the recruitment drive already underway (the force already plan to recruit 800 officers by 2022. 600 of these are needed to replace officers who leave or retire, and 200 will be additional officers

· 50 specialist staff and investigators.

Sussex council tax payers currently have the fifth lowest amount of police precept across the country, and in terms of overall funding per head of population receives the fifth lowest amount in England and Wales.

Following the precept rise last year and use of reserves, Sussex Police has already embarked on its biggest recruitment programme for a decade, protecting 476 posts that had been under threat, and recruiting 270 police officers including 50 transferees since April 2018.

Last year Mrs Bourne raised the police’s precept by £12 per annum for a Band D property last year, the maximum then allowed, but in December the Government announced it would double the maximum permitted increase for 2019/20.