Agenda item


The Police and Crime Panel is required to consider and formally respond to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Proposed Precept for 2020/21. The purpose of this item is to allow the Commissioner to outline his proposals in more detail and to answer any questions that Panel Members might have.


Following consideration of the Commissioner’s proposed precept, the Panel must either:


a) agree the precept without qualification or comment;

b) support the precept and make comments or recommendations concerning the application of the revenues generated; or

c) veto the proposed precept.



In accordance with the Police and Crime Panels (Precepts and Chief Constable Appointments) Regulations 2012:


(a) The Commissioner must notify the Panel of his proposed precept by 1 February 2020;

(b) The Panel must review and make a report to the Commissioner on the proposed precept (whether it vetoes the precept or not) by 8 February 2020;

(c) If the Panel vetoes the precept, the Commissioner must have regard to and respond to the Panel’s report, and publish his response, including the revised precept, by 15 February 2020;

(d) The Panel, on receipt of a response from the Commissioner notifying it of his revised precept, must review the revised precept and make a second report to the Commissioner by 22 February 2020 (there is no second right of veto);

(e) The Commissioner must have regard to and respond to the Panel’s second report and publish his response by 1 March 2020.




David Munro, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner

Ian Perkin, Treasurer (OPCC)


Key points raised in the discussion:


  1. The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) wished the Chairman well as he was unable to attend the meeting and he introduced the report explaining that:

·         The delay in the 2020-21 Police Finance Settlement (including the police precept capping limits) which was only issued in late January, meant the OPCC went out to consultation before the precept level was known.

·         The online public consultation garnered 3,112 responses from residents with 61% in favour of the proposed precept level of 5% and 39% in favour for the lower proposed precept level of 2%. Some residents responded that they were disappointed they were not given the option of no change in the precept - that option was not considered as the PCC did not want to reduce police numbers - and another key response were queries as to where the additional funding from the precept went last year as residents did not see the increased police numbers as promised. The PCC stated that many of those extra officers were still in training.

·         The final proposed precept level was set in between the higher and lower figures in the consultation at 3.84% which equated to an extra £10 to Band D in Council Tax without triggering a local referendum.

·         The result of that precept level would be a sustained increase in police officers and staff numbers across departments, with a special focus on increasing neighbourhood policing as that was a key area to residents as identified within the eleven community engagement events the PCC attended. Confidence in Surrey Police was good and rising and it would take more than a year to address the shortage of police over the last decade.

·         There was a proposal for further savings in the report in order to increase efficiency and reduce unnecessary waste.

  1. The Vice-Chairman explained that there was a handout to Members which was an updated table of the Tax Base and Collection Fund Surplus/Deficit by district and borough councils, which would be attached to the minutes as (Annex A).
  2. A Member thought the public would support the £10 a year increase on Band D, but was disappointed that the report omitted how the precept would affect the numbers of crimes solved and prevented, to address the recent HMIC report which showed a 7% national decrease in the detection rate of crimes. He asked that more detail be provided over the next three years on how Surrey’s allocation from the additional 20,000 police officers - Operation Uplift - would be allocated and how residents would see an improved performance in policing as a result. In response the PCC explained that page 6 of the report outlined key areas which would be addressed as a result of the proposed precept. The level of crime detection in Surrey was not as low as the national figure highlighted in the HMIC report, despite being under-resourced and in high demand. However, the PCC would like to see an increase in the crime solving rate in Surrey which was a focus in the regular performance meetings with the Chief Constable - a problem solving unit was established to focus on crime solving.
  3. The PCC noted that the force’s future workforce plan set realistic expectations in which an additional 330 police officers and 170 staff were needed - provided to the Panel at its last meeting in Part 2. There would be 190 new officers by the end of March 2021 as a result of last years and this year’s precept, Surrey Police’s allocation from the 20,000 new officers and the 25 posts protected as a result of last year’s precept increase. There would be more officers if the funding formula was not flawed as it largely focused on social deprivation factors which was disadvantageous to Surrey Police.
  4. A Member welcomed the additional police officers and staff but was concerned with retention rates. In response, the PCC explained that he did not have detailed figures on retention to hand and agreed to provide them to the Panel, but it was slowly increasing with more detectives being recruited. Retention had to be offset with leavers of the force which will be a key issue to be raised with the Chief Constable at the upcoming performance review meeting in Mole Valley. The PCC noted that he agreed with the Chief Constable that providing good work life balance and career progression was essential for retention.
  5. In response to a Member’s concern on the lack of attendance to low grade crimes which included burglaries in some cases leading to a loss in police confidence, the PCC did not feel there was a loss of public confidence and stressed that crimes had to be prioritised by the Contact Centre based on the available resources. Response rates to grade 1 serious crimes was good and the PCC noted that responses to lower Grade 2 and 3 crimes had to be improved.
  6. A Member agreed with the proposed precept level, welcoming the steady increase in police officers as a result and hoped that more crimes such as burglary would be attended in order to meet residents’ expectations. Crime prevention would benefit hugely from more resources in neighbourhood policing. The PCC responded that there was a high level of burglary three years ago which has now decreased, although there had been a recent spike in burglaries to which the special burglary unit was established to address. He noted that Surrey was a wealthy county attractive to international criminals and he had called for longer sentences for career burglars.
  7. A Member noted that the proposed precept level was appropriate and commended the holding of public consultation in the absence of the precept capping level. He added that the consultation lacked an opportunity for residents to respond with priority areas for the force. The PCC responded that the inclusion of a ‘free text’ box partially allowed for residents to outline their priorities. The PCC did not want to raise public expectations with a detailed list of priorities due to uncertainty surrounding funding, which included the issue of police pensions last year. However, the PCC attended eleven community engagement events, one in each borough to ascertain residents’ opinions in a number of areas.
  8. In response to a Member query on the low number of responses to the online public consultation considering the county’s population, the PCC noted that there were 3,112 responses - which was less than last year’s longer running consultation, but on par with previous years - out of 1.2 million Surrey residents and was reasonably confident that it captured the mood of residents.
  9. A Member raised the concern of burglary in her Borough Council which was a priority to victims of the crime, in response the PCC explained that Surrey Police had a through process of evaluating crimes called THRIVE: Threat, Harm, Risk, Investigation, Vulnerability and Engagement. The Contact Centre assessed calls based on THRIVE and noted that many calls were not police matters. High demand and low resources affected the attendance to every single burglary, especially if there was the likelihood of there being insufficient evidence.
  10. In response to a Member query on the effect of the 2019/20 pay award for police officers at 2% and 2.5% for staff on the proposed precept, the PCC explained that there was an extra £15 million compared to last year’s 2019/20 Revenue Budget aided by inflation and covered salary increments.
  11. The Vice-Chairman informed the Panel that bullet points 4 and 5 concerning the ‘savings programme’ on page 7 of the supplementary agenda were included in error.
  12. In response to a query by the Vice-Chairman, the Treasurer explained that the £700,000 savings in IT were a result of the rationalisation in the number of IT suppliers which the new head of IT would be implementing throughout the financial year.
  13. A Member commented that Elmbridge Borough Council had a large Collection Fund surplus in respect of the proposed precept and stressed that as a result residents wanted to see value for money with more visible police officers and PCSOs. In response, the PCC commented that he was aware of the concerns in Elmbridge as identified within the community engagement meetings. He stated that Elmbridge had a good Borough Commander and that there would be a substantial increase in neighbourhood policing going forward.
  14. The PCC informed Members that intelligence and covert operations were vital to catch burglars. Although police visibility on the streets was important, cybercrimes such as fraud and online paedophilia were solved online by highly trained officers.




The Panel voted unanimously:


That it agreed the proposed Surrey Police Council Tax Precept of £270.57p for a Band D Property for the financial year 2020/21.


Actions/further information to be provided:


  1. R1/20 - On behalf of the Panel, the Vice-Chairman will write to the Commissioner to confirm agreement of the 2020/21 precept proposal.
  2. R2/20 - The PCC to provide more detail on how the precept and future strategic measures by police forces nationally would affect Surrey Police performance through the numbers of crimes solved and prevented.
  3. R3/20 - The PCC to provide an update report every three months detailing the allocation of newly recruited officers as a result of the 20,000 uplift, how many officers were in training and how many were on patrol.
  4. R4/20 - The PCC to provide detailed figures on the retention rate and how it would be improved, considering the net difference between incoming recruits and leavers from the force.




Supporting documents: