The Surrey Police Budget for 2022/23 was underspent by a whopping £ 7.9 million – Enough to fund the entire 5.1% council tax increase for 2023/24.
This has been imposed on us by our Tory Police & Chief Commissioner.
Why are Surrey residents paying the highest council tax for policing in the country?
It is great news and a significant relief that Surrey Police have met the Government target for new police officers by 31 March. This reflects a huge effort by outgoing Chief Constable Gavin Stephens and his team to avoid the financial penalties the Home Office would have imposed if the target had been missed.
However, Surrey Police continue to struggle to recruit and retain staff. The number of PCSOs has fallen to just 69 at the end of March, 27 below the new (reduced) establishment figure of 96 and down from 136 PCSOs just over a year ago in February 2022.
So PCSO numbers have fallen even more than was initially reported a year ago.
Other areas with large staff vacancies reported on 31 March include:
Operations: 21 vacancies
Specialist Crime: 38 vacancies
Contact (including 999/101 call operators): 59 vacancies
Criminal Justice and Custody: 32 vacancies
We wonder why we are paying the highest council tax in the country for our police force when so much of our council taxes are either being used to expand the Police and Crime Commissioner’s own office and media team or are not being spent at all.