Frequently asked questions

 Frequently asked questions

*The PCC's precept proposal was passed by the Police & Crime Panel on the 1st February. 

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 does £1 on the precept raise?

In 2019/20 each £1 of the precept will raise £623,000 (£616,000 2018/19).

How much does the precept currently raise in total?

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 currently 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 £189.91 or less (£24 or a lower amount of increase) for Policing.


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:
Year Band D Council Tax
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 here.

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

After a year of dialogue with Government, I, along with all other PCCs in England and Wales, have secured the best possible funding arrangements for policing in the current financial climate, with the Government recognising the need to provide additional resources for local and national policing. I along with all other PCC’s in England and Wales have the opportunity to increase the precept by £24 for 2019/20.

I have decided to increase in the precept by £24 per year for an average band D property. Combined with the use of reserves this covers the previously planned savings requirements up to 2021/22 of £3.0m and adds further resources to allow essential investment in police services over the medium term. The MTFS for 2019/20 to 2022/23 sets out how the overall investment impact could increase to £32.1m over the four year period.

There are a number of key considerations driving this decision:

  • There has been an exponential rise in public demand on police services;
  • Criminal investigations are becoming increasingly complicated, with huge amounts of digital material to identify, secure and analyse, and the threshold for prosecution is very exacting;
  • The public want to see investment in more visible, local policing, focusing on crimes like burglary and anti-social behaviour and they rightly want to feel safe on the roads, in public spaces and at night-time;
  • They also want to see improvements in the force’s approach to public contact and more support to the 101 service;
  • And, my consultations, correspondence and focus groups with the public show that a majority of Sussex residents are prepared to support their police service through increased precept contributions.

The additional resource will enable:

100 more Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) - to prevent and respond to crime, including more named PCSOs to ensure a consistent point of contact for local communities.

  • 50% more PCSOs out in communities, increasing visible policing support, including in rural areas.
  • Greater capacity to work with partners and leverage their support to address local issues.
  • Better engagement through social media with dedicated ‘digital’ PCSOs keeping vulnerable people safe online.
  • More capacity to support vulnerable people and minority communities– addressing hidden crime.
  • Improvement in local police/public relations and an increased capability to gather community intelligence.
  • Improved ability to solve problems – deterring crime and tackling anti-social behaviour.

50 More Police Officers and 50 more specialist staff to be deployed as follows:

  • To prevent more deaths and serious injuries on our roads, through recruiting additional roads policing officers and collision investigators.
  • To improve the first point of contact with the public. Investing in more Contact Centre and social media engagement staff to improve its service for both 101 and 999 calls, as well as online engagement; and
  • specialist police investigators for public protection, serious violence, high harm and digital crime.

This means, that by 2023, there will be up to 250 more officers, 50 more specialist staff and 100 more PCSOs than there were in March 2018 a total increase of 400.

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 five 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 are 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 last year’s public consultation?

The online survey received a total of 2,694 responses with 61% saying they would pay more for policing with the average extra amount suggested being an additional £72 a year. This consultation had the third highest responses in England and Wales. 

The PCC takes her position as an elected representative of local people very seriously, with a regular weekly programme of visits to communities across Sussex. To help inform her decision on the level of precept for 2019, she also undertook a comprehensive series of focus groups, public meetings and an online survey from 31st October 2018 to 4th January 2019.

The focus groups were held across Sussex in: Midhurst; Burgess Hill; Arundel; Horsham; Crawley; Hove; Eastbourne; Hailsham; Battle; Uckfield; Ticehurst and Haywards Heath. The common themes and concerns which emerged were:

  • A lack of visible policing
  • Difficulty in reporting crime particularly via 101
  • No local police contact point
  • Speeding
  • Anti Social Behaviour

The focus groups showed almost unanimous support by attendees to pay higher levels of precept to deliver a more visible and accessible police service.

How much is received from Government?

Sussex Police receive a core grant for the day to day running expenses and this is £165.9 million for 2019/20, an increase of £3.1 million on the previous year. A further grant of £2.9 million was received to meet part of the police officer pension scheme increased costs and other specific grants for specialist activities, total £6.5 million.

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 will 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 – see this 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 £13.9 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.

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. The 2019/23 MTFS can be found here.

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 £1.3m 2019/20. The PCCs office equates to 0.4% of the net revenue budget of £287.5m.

How much of the increase is to fund the Police & Crime Commissioner’s office?

The budget increased by £47,000. 

Other helpful documents

Further information is available on this page of our website.