Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

We've put together a list of the questions about the precept which people most commonly ask us. If you can't find the answer to your question below then please email it to: pcc@sussex-pcc.gov.uk.

What is a precept?

It is an element of your Council Tax which is raised for specific services, such as, policing, local councils and Fire & Rescue authorities.

How much was the precept in previous years?

The following schedule sets out the level of police precept within Band D council tax in Sussex since 2010/11.

Note that the precept was frozen for four years from 2010/11 to 2013/14:

Band D Council Tax

2019/20 £189.91
2018/19 £165.91
2017/18 £153.91
2016/17 £148.91
2015/16 £143.91
2014/15 £141.12
2013/14 £138.42
2012/13 £138.42
2011/12 £138.42
2010/11 £138.42

You can check your band at: www.gov.uk/council-tax-bands.gov

How does this compare with other PCCs?

The council tax precept for Sussex was one of the lowest - 33 out of 39 – of English policing bodies during 2019/20 at £189.91 per annum for a Band D property.

**THIS IS ONLY THE PCC ELEMENT**

PCCs (England) council tax band Ds

 

How much does £1 on the precept raise in Sussex?

In 2020/21 each £1 of precept will raise £630,000.
In 2019/20 each £1 raised £623,000

How much does the precept currently raise in total?

2020/21 – With a £10 increase that would potentially raise £125.9m (£7.6m more than 2019/20)

2019/20 £118.3 million (£16.2 million more than 2018/19)

2018/19 £102.1 million (£8.9 million more than 2017/18)

2017/18 £93.2 million (£8.9 million more than 2016/17)

How much do I pay?

This depends on a number of things: the borough or district you live in, the council tax band of your dwelling and how many people live in the property.

In addition you may be eligible for a discount: for example, if you are the only adult in the household you can obtain a discount. (Contact your local council for more information if you think you may be eligible for a discount or exemption.)

75% of dwellings in Sussex are a Band D property or below so the majority of people will pay the precept or less for Policing.

breakdown of council tax bands by billing authority

percentage of bands

Breakdown of all dwellings by band

Why are you asking me whether I would be prepared to pay more?

The PCC has been consulting with Sussex residents over the last year and has gauged a lot of support for paying more to, strengthen local policing, tougher enforcement against criminals and diverting young people away from crime.

The Government announced (22 January 2020) that PCCs would be able to raise the local precept by £10 and confirmed an increase in total grant funding, which is welcome news.

The Chief Constable has given the PCC assurances that any rise in precept contribution would further strengthen the Force’s ability to keep Sussex safe.

An average increase of 20p per week (an extra £10 a year) for a Band D property would help Sussex Police boost the visible frontline even further, prevent and deter criminal activity and build vital public confidence.

Why do you ask for public opinion?

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 places a duty to consult with residents within Sussex on the proposals of the PCC for expenditure (including capital expenditure) and the precept in that financial year.

The PCC has completed an annual survey in each of the past six years using a range of public engagement channels including broadcast, print, social media and direct email.

 

Will you simply just increase the precept, irrespective of the views received?

The PCC gauges public opinion and this forms just one element of the information considered when determining the precept.

Under Schedule 5 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, the
Commissioner must report her decision to the Police & Crime Panel who is asked to consider the proposed precept and make recommendations.

If the Panel does not accept the proposed precept, the power of veto is provided under this Schedule. The power of veto can only be exercised with a two thirds majority, at least, of the current Panel membership, i.e. 13 members or more, voting in favour of a veto.

In the event of a veto, the Commissioner must produce a revised precept and an additional meeting is convened for the Panel to meet to consider this revised precept and make reports to the Commissioner. The Panel does not have the power of veto over the revised precept.

How many people took part in this year's public consultation?

Following the delayed Government's announcement on Wednesday 22nd January of the police funding settlement for 2020/21, PCC Katy Bourne was only given a week to consult on a rise in this year’s local precept (council tax) contribution.

This year's police funding survey sought the views of Sussex residents on raising the 2020/21 precept - the police element of council tax - by an average of £10 p.a. (for a Band D property).

It was publicised through the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner's social media accounts, website and weekly newsletter, as well as to members of Sussex Neighbourhood Watch and local councils across the county.

The survey was open from January 23rd 2020 to January 30th 2020 and a total of 6,489 responses were received. 66% of respondents answered ‘Yes’ when asked “Do you support a 20p a week (average) increase in your police precept?” with the remaining 34% of respondents answering ‘No.’

You can find the full breakdown of results here: https://www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/about/transparency/police-funding/latest-precept-information-202021/precept-survey-results-202021/

How many people took part in last year’s public consultation?

The survey was open from October 31st 2018 to January 4th 2019 and a total of 2694 responses were received; the third highest number of responses to similar surveys carried out by PCCs across England and Wales.

61% of respondents answered ‘Yes’ when asked “As we have the opportunity to raise more money for policing within Sussex, would you be willing to pay any extra?” with the remaining 39% of respondents answering ‘No, nothing more’.

Further information about the results of the consultation are available online.

How much is received from Government?

Sussex Police will receive a core grant for the day to day running expenses and this is £164.2 million for 2020/21, £3.6 million ring fenced fund to recruit a further 129 police officers as part of the first tranche of the 20,000 national increase. They also receive a grant towards capital expenditure of £0.243 million. These combined are an increase of £14.4 million (9.4%) compared with 2019/20.

How does the Government determine how much money it gives to Sussex Police?

The Police Funding Formula divides up how much money each policing body receives from the overall central government funds. It takes into account a number of factors to assess demand in each area.

The Home Office’s proposed changes to the funding formula are expected to be revisited at the next Spending Review.

Why do you have so much money in reserves?

Reserves are held for four main purposes:

• A working balance to help cushion the impact of uneven cash flows and avoids unnecessary temporary borrowing – this forms part of general reserves;

• Funds to cushion the impact of unexpected events or emergencies – this also forms part of general reserves;

• Funds for the purposes of managing risk e.g. insurance reserve; and

• A means of building up funds, often referred to as earmarked reserves, to meet known or predicted requirements; earmarked reserves are accounted for separately but remain legally part of the reserves.

The PCC has a reserves policy that sets out the use of each reserve and the financial
report provides the detail of the value and their use. You can find out more on our 'What we spend and how we spend it' page. 

Is money raised through fines considered when setting council tax?

Sussex Police do not retain money raised directly from fines, e.g. speeding/ parking fines.

How much do you charge Gatwick Airport?

Gatwick Airport pays £14 million a year to Sussex Police for the policing services provided.

Does Sussex Police charge for policing the Brighton & Hove Albion Football matches in Sussex?

Yes, and Sussex Police can recover some of the costs of policing large public events and the methodology is agreed nationally.

I cannot afford to pay my Bill

The PCC recognises that any increase in taxation at any level will be challenging for some of our residents and it is therefore not a decision that she takes lightly.

Please contact your local council who will be able to review your council tax liability and check to see if you can obtain a discount, exemption or other reduction to your bill. They can also direct you to independent advice.

What are your medium term plans?

The PCC's current Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) covers the period of four financial years from 2019/20 to 2022/23.

It provides options for delivering a sustainable revenue budget and capital investment over the medium term. It also sets out how the PCC can provide the Chief Constable with the resources to deliver the priorities in the Police & Crime Plan 2018/19 to 2021/22; support the mission, vision and values of Sussex Police and meet the requirements of the Strategic Policing Requirement within challenging financial boundaries. For more information please see the 2019/23 MTFS.

This will now be updated to reflect the latest government grant funds, council tax and other income and expenditure plans. It will be published in February 2020.

What is the Police & Crime Commissioner’s salary?

The PCC is paid an annual salary of £86,700

 

How much does the Police & Crime Commissioner’s office cost?

The cost of running the PCCs office is £1.38m

How much of the budget does the running of the police and crime commissioner’s office cost?

The PCC budget equates to 0.4% of the gross Sussex Police budget for 2020/21.

Other helpful documents

Further information is available on the 'What we spend and how we spend it' page

Where can I find the budget and precept report for 2020/21?

The relevant documents are:

There is also additional information on the "What we spend and how we spend it" page of this website.

What are your medium term plans? (1)

The PCC's Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) covers the period of four financial years from 2020/21 to 2023/24.

It provides options for delivering a sustainable revenue budget and capital investment over the medium term. It also sets out how the PCC can provide the Chief Constable with the resources to deliver the priorities in the Police & Crime Plan 2020/21 to 2023/24; support the mission, vision and values of Sussex Police and meet the requirements of the Strategic Policing Requirement.

For more information please see the 2020/24 MTFS.