Frequently Asked Questions

We've put together a list of the questions about the precept which people most commonly ask us, but if you can't find the answer to your question below then please email it to:

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.

What is this year's precept increase paying for?

The Force’s analysis of the demands on local policing, investigations and the need for tougher enforcement has led them to request investment in the following:

  • Continued increase of policing presence in our towns and villages
  • Further investment into the Rural Crime Team and Roads Policing
  • More Detectives and Investigators
  • A Public Confidence Team to resolve issues swiftly
  • Better use of data and intelligence to identify and catch criminals
  • Joint operations with other Forces (including the Met Police) to tackle drugs and shut down County Lines
  • More officers to manage the highest harm perpetrators
  • Expand local investigation and resolution centres to work closely with victims
  • A Digital Investigation Programme to improve the capture of online evidence

How much is the precept for next year 2021/22?


Band D Council Tax

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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

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How does this compare with other police force areas and PCCs?

The council tax precept for Sussex was one of the lowest - 31 out of 37 – of English policing bodies during 2021/22 at £214.91 per annum for a Band D property. The table shows the range of precepts by policing body in England. The median was £237.69


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

In 2021/22 each £1 of precept will raise £627,000.

How much does the precept raise in total?

2021/22 – A £15 increase will raise £134.9m in total.

2020/21 - The precept raised £125.9m

2019/20 - The precept raised £118.3 million

How much do I pay?

Your total council tax bill depends on several factors: 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.)

The standard tax payable for Sussex Police by council tax band are as follows for 2021/22:

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Why did you ask me whether I would be prepared to pay more?

Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns the PCC’s office has continued to engage with residents via online consultations and roundtables, a new sentiment meter on her website and traditional correspondence and social media.

These engagement methods suggested that residents have seen visible improvements in local policing and were keen to see a continuation of this.

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 will take into account any compelling investment proposals from the Chief Constable and any clear requirements to maintain public safety along with feedback from surveys and public confidence 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 which 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.

The Police & Crime Commissioner received cross-party vote of support from the Sussex Police & Crime Panel members at their meeting on 29 January) to increase the police precept by an extra £15 per year, per household (for an average band D property). There were 17 members in favour, one against and one abstention.

How many people took part in the 2021/22 public survey?

In 2020 PCC Katy Bourne began her precept surveying on 8th December. This year it took the form of a traditional survey and the “policing challenge”, a “gamified” version of the survey. A total of 4,465 residents responded; 1,666 via the “policing challenge” and 2,799 via the traditional survey.

Of those who responded 2,266 (50.8%) indicated that they would be prepared to pay £15 a month more, 858 (19.2%) that they would pay £10 a month more. 1,130 (25.3%) said they wouldn’t be prepared to pay anything more, while 211 (4.7%) said that they were unsure or would pay another amount.

This year's police funding surveys sought the views of Sussex residents on raising the 2021/22 precept - the police element of council tax - by an average of £15 p.a. (for a Band D property).

Further information is available in the full results of the survey and a more extensive look at how this year's process was conducted is available in the engagement and consultation presentation which was given to the Police & Crime Panel.

How was the survey promoted?

It was publicised via the following methods:

  • TV and radio interviews with the PCC;
  • All 16 local newspapers and websites which cover Sussex;
  • Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, including boosted posts;
  • PCC newsletters;
  • Parish newsletters;
  • Messages via community safety and victim support groups and networks and groups which we’ve previously engaged with;
  • Messages to all councils via the Surrey and Sussex Associations of Local Councils (SSALC);
  • 64 consultations with town and parish councils;
  • Promoted to Universities and Colleges;
  • The Police Federation;
  • Sussex Police Officers and staff

You can also see a full breakdown of results.

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 considers several 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, such as the response to COVID-19, – 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.

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.

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/Fixed Penalty Notices.

How much do you charge Gatwick Airport for Policing?

Gatwick Airport pays £13 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 via a nationally agreed methodology.

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 PCC’s office in 2021/22 is budgeted at £1.45m. The total policing budget for 2021/22 will be £328.9m. The office budget is therefore 0.4% of that budget.

What are the medium term plans?

The PCC's Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) covers the period of four financial years from 2021/22 to 2024/25.

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 2021/22 to 2024/25; support the mission, vision and values of Sussex Police and meet the requirements of the Strategic Policing Requirement.

For more information please see the MTFS document.

Where can I find the budget and precept report for 2021/22?

Other helpful documents

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