Sheffield crime: What should police prioritise and how much extra would we be happy to pay?

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Police and crime commissioner launches survey asking what should be prioritised and how much extra residents would pay

The man in charge of policing Sheffield and South Yorkshire has launched a survey to find what people think should be made a priority.

And he is also asking how much more people would be prepared to pay on their council tax to increase funding for the force.

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The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Dr Alan Billings, is asking residents to complete a survey to help shape the future of policing across the county.

In it they are asked to highlight the areas of policing and crime they would prioritise, such as tackling neighbourhood crime, domestic abuse, victim support services, dealing with off-road bikes and fraud.

Responses from the survey help shape the PCC’s priorities for South Yorkshire Police for the coming year.

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Members of the public are also asked to indicate how much they are willing to contribute towards the policing element of their council tax bill.

The police budget is made up of a government allocation of funding, plus money raised from the council tax precept. The precept contributes towards the total funding available to the PCC to provide policing, community safety and victims’ services.

Dr Billings said: “Each year I consult South Yorkshire residents over two matters.

“First, I ask what you think the police priorities should be. And second, I ask how much you might be willing to see invested in policing and in services for victims of crime, through the council tax. This is the ‘policing precept’. It is listed on your council tax bill and accounts for about 26 per cent of the funding needed for policing; with the remaining 74 per cent coming from government grant. Funding from the precept and the grant enables me to set a balanced budget for South Yorkshire Police; something required by law.

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“In this financial year, April 2023 to March 2024, I used government grant and the precept to increase police numbers. They are now back to where they were in 2010, before austerity began, and a little beyond, and you may have noticed some of them in your neighbourhood. I would like to see those numbers maintained because we need a well-resourced police force to keep us safe from criminality and anti-social behaviour.

“But because the national finances remain in such poor shape, we will not see government funding fully meet what we need so it will not be possible to keep numbers steady unless I can raise a little more from the precept – though I will seek to keep the increase as low as possible.

"Even so, I will still be asking the force to make savings in order to balance the books.

“To help me get the balance right, I hope you might be willing to provide a response to the survey.”