This blog will answer the question “Does council tax pay for police?” It will discuss all the spheres where taxpayers’ council tax money is spent. Then it will discuss the expenditure of council tax money on Police and other related details, along with discussion of a few police authorities.

Does council tax pay for police

Yes, council tax pays for police. The money received from council tax is spent in paying for various facilities availed by the taxpayers, which include police and crime investigations. Council tax pays for a large deal of the police department, which depends upon various local councils and related police authorities.

Council tax

Council Tax is a local charge upon properties resided in by people. It pays towards the cost of several services availed by people, including the police. The Council Tax year runs from 1st of  April to 31st March. How much council tax you pay depends on which band your house is in. Each band is calculated as a proportion of band D, which is taken as the base limit. 

Distribution of council tax

Council tax funds are used for various purposes, by different councils. 

The following points enumerate what ways council tax money might be used in:

  • As care services for older people and people with physical or learning disabilities.
  • Used for implementing change programmes across adult social care called Your Life Your Way, helping people remain independent for as long as possible.
  • To provide high quality leisure facilities, libraries and the customer service network. 
  • For economic regeneration which supports a range of activities, including specific support to enable the high street and businesses to recover from the pandemic.
  • Targeted protection for low income families through a year one extension of the Council Tax Hardship Fund
  • Housing and Public Protection, development of housing companies.
  • Providing services  such as drainage and flood defences.
  • Contributing towards education.
  • Contributing for Children’s social care.
  • Developing public health.
  • Use in Planning and Development Management.
  • To encourage Tourism, maintaining parks and sports centres.
  • Providing Streetscene Services which includes rubbish and waste collection and disposal, recycling, grounds maintenance and street cleansing services.
  • Providing Transport services
  • Carrying out Highway and property maintenance
  • Dealing with street lighting and cleaning, and road maintenance
  • Towards Benefit payment
  • Servicing as Business Support including legal, democratic, finance, human resources, procurement and income collection services.
  • Dedicated to Police and crime commissioner
  • Given towards Fire and rescue authority
  • For monitoring environmental health and trading standards
  • For administration and record-keeping, such as marriages, deaths and birth, and local elections.

On what the money is spent

The money from council tax is spent on the following aspects:

  • Places
  • People
  • Resources
  • Capital charges
  • Passenger transport levy

Police precept

This is the portion of a Council Tax bill that is put towards paying for policing services locally. The portion of council that pays for police is called police precept. On Council Tax notices this section may be marked as being for the Police and Crime Commissioner, who sets the budget for the police.

Police have become more and more reliant now on cash from council tax.

In the mid-1990s,council tax paid to the police just 12p in every pound, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. But last year 32p in every pound of funding for forces in England and Wales came from the precept, as shown by Home Office figures.

The amount paid for police force varies across the country, according to the individual police and crime branches. There has been an increase in precept recently, across almost all over the country. There is an increase of about 16% in the North-East, while in London it adds about 11%.

Usage of Police precept

Your council tax pays for police, to be used for various purposes.

Some of these uses are:

  • Leicestershire Police said that it planned to hire 107 police officers and create a digital policing team to tackle high-tech crime.
  • Surrey Police promised to recruit 100 officers, who will work as detectives tackling organised and drug crime, and double the size of their neighbourhood teams, while saving 25 posts which would otherwise have been lost.
  • Home Secretary Sajid Javid informed that a total of 2,800 extra officers had been proposed.
  • Forces such as West Midlands Police said that they would simply use the extra cash to plug a funding gap and maintain their current level of policing.
  • In Lincolnshire, the chief constable has said there will be cuts, including the loss of 40 officers and 30 support staff, despite the rise in tax.
  • The government recently passed a £330m annual cost for police pensions for local forces, so many had to use the extra money to cover this new cost.

Why fund police by councils

The government claimed that raising money this way means that police are more accountable to the local population. It also says the money would contribute to having one of the most substantial investments in policing.

The National Police Chiefs Council welcomed the move and said that it showed that the government recognises the severe strain that budget cuts and increasing violence have caused.

Criticism

Many have not welcomed this provision for council tax to pay the police.

The Labour’s Shadow Policing and Crime Minister Louise Haigh said that local taxpayers are being forced to pay the price for reckless Tory cuts to local police forces and that it would create a postcode lottery where some areas are hit harder by austerity than others.

The Police Federation agreed with the labour’s shadow policing, saying that the government is passing the buck to local forces and that there is the risk of creating a two-tier system where wealthier communities would have more money available for local policing than others.

Where does the other police funding come from

Police precept is not the only source of funding of police departments. The central government provides a number of additional grants each year. It gives the Police and Revenue Settlement Grant, Council Tax Support Grant, Victims Support Grants and grants awarded as a result of previous Council Tax freezes to the police departments.

Certain additional fundings also come from unspent money from past years, or from reserved funds, or from additional funding given for specific projects.

Police funding in Scotland and Northern Ireland

The provisions are different in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, policing is a devolved matter. The police here is centrally funded by the Scottish government and has no council-tax raising powers, although local authorities are able to put some of their general budgets into funding local policing priorities.

Northern Ireland also has a single police service, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is centrally funded from Westminster. It bids for funding from the Treasury rather than raising money through local taxes.

Therefore, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, council tax does not pay for police.

Various police departments and their precepts

The Surrey Police department is the most reliant on council tax for its funding. It gets almost 54% of its money from council tax, while North Wales in second place gets about 51% of its funds from council tax. Among this list are Dyfed-Powys, North Yorkshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Wiltshire who get more than 40% of their money from the council traxes.

Some of the councils and police departments are discussed below as per their fundings and usages:

Cambridge city council

The council tax by this council is split as follows:

  •  72.59% of the tax money goes to the County council 
  • 12.84% goes to the Police and crime commissioner 
  • 10.76% goes to the City council 
  • 3.81% goes to the Fire authority 

Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland Police Department

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland set the total net budget requirement for 2021-2022 at £212.572m.  This equated to an increase of £12.709m from the 2020-2021 net budget requirement level of £199.863m.

It earned £10m from council tax support and freeze grants in 2021-22.

This money was spent as follows:

  • Police pay and allowance: 52%
  • Police staff pay and allowance: 27%
  • Others: 21%

Hampshire & Isle of Wight police department

The council tax bill here is shared between a number of public services including council services, police and fire.

The portion of council tax that residents of Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton pay towards services that keep them safer is one of the lowest in the country and accounts for 41% of the total funding available for these services locally. The other 59% is made up of a national grant from the Government.

The budget set by the Police and Crime Commissioner delivers the following:

  • Investigation of up to 26,000 more crimes
  • Maintaining our PCSO numbers
  • The pursuit of 300 more of the most dangerous criminals, with a focus on serious violence and drug related harm
  • Reduce offending by a further 1,000 crimes
  • Safeguarding an additional 12,000 vulnerable people, including 240 more high risk children
  • Enable targeted support for rural initiatives
  • More new officers recruited sooner
  • Provide infrastructure and support to the Uplift programme and continuation of delivery of policing services on a sustainable basis
  • Better justice for victims

West Midlands Police and Crime department

Part of the council tax for Birmingham city council goes towards the police, fire and rescue, transport services and the West Midlands Combined Authority for Birmingham.

According to the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, the recent  government cuts have led to 2,200 less officers and the budget reduced by £175m. This is the biggest cut that any police force faced. The police commissioner has been in favour of the government fully funding this increase, rather than essentially mandating a council tax increase and pushing the burden onto local taxpayers. 

Policing payment in west midland in 2021-22

Yearly amount paid per property, according to council tax band is as follows:

  • A –  £118.37
  • B –  £138.09
  • C –  £157.82
  • D –  £177.55
  • E –  £217.01
  • F –  £256.46
  • G –  £295.92
  • H –  £355.10

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

The Mayor of Greater Manchester is responsible for setting precepts from council tax. On your council tax bill there are two sections which refer to Mayoral precepts. One is for the policing precept, which used to be the responsibility of the Police and Crime Commissioner, in whose name this used to appear on your bill. On your bill, this is called the “Mayoral Police and Crime Commissioner Precept”.

The other is called the “Mayoral General Precept”. The vast majority of this comprises the costs of the Fire Service, with a small amount going to pay for other Mayoral functions. 

The Mayor reduced the proposed £15 increase on Band D property to £10 per year. The impact of reducing the proposed precept increase to £10 for a band D property was a reduction in the income raised through the precept of £3.8m against the original proposed increase of £15.

This set total funding for police and crime in 2021/22 at £671m. This is an increase of £25.8m on the 2020/21 funding.

Essex authority

Your bill tells you how much of your council tax bill goes towards policing, fire and rescue across the whole of Essex. You must pay these amounts, even if you have not used these services directly. They are shown on your bill as:

  • Essex Fire Authority
  • Police & C C For Essex

Conclusion 

This blog answered the question “Does council tax pay for police?” It discussed all the spheres where taxpayers’ council tax money is spent. Further, it talked about the expenditure of council tax money on Police and other related details, along with discussion of a few police authorities.

FAQs

Who pays for the police in the UK?

Various council taxes along with government grants pay the police in the UK.

What is council tax paid for?

Council tax is paid for local services availed by the citizens. These include services like policong, street cleaning, fire service, local community support etc.

Where do police get their funding?

The police funding falls into several categories. It comes from local, state and federal levels, and goes to funding for police, corrections and courts. 

How much does a police officer cost in the UK?

At an average, a Police officer’s cost includes his basic pay, pension, ERNIC, accommodation allowance, London Weighting, London allowance, Unsocial hours payment and uniforms. The overall total becomes £70,508 annually.

How many months a year is council tax paid?

Council tax is paid for 10 months. It is a payment made in 10 monthly installments, with two months of zero payments. You do not oay any council tax in February and March.

Citations

https://www.leics.pcc.police.uk/Home.aspx
https://www.investopedia.com/how-are-police-departments-funded-5115578
https://www.london.gov.uk/questions/2019/0491
https://www.hampshire-pcc.gov.uk/transparency/money/spending/how-the-money-is-spent
https://democracy.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/documents/s12861/Police%20and%20Crime%20Precept%20report%2029%20Jan%2021%20-%20ADDENDUM%204.0.pdf
https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/who-we-are/accounts-transparency-and-governance/council-tax/
https://www.thurrock.gov.uk/paying-your-council-tax/your-council-tax-bill-explained
https://www.newham.gov.uk/council-tax/pay-council-tax
https://www.thurrock.gov.uk/paying-your-council-tax/your-council-tax-bill-explained
https://www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Precept-Leaflet-2021-22.pdf?x48248
https://www.hampshire-pcc.gov.uk/transparency/money/council-tax
https://www.leics.pcc.police.uk/DOCUMENT-LIBRARY/Planning-and-Money/Finance/Council-Tax/Council-Tax-Information-Leaflet-2021-2022.pdf
https://www.leics.pcc.police.uk/Planning-and-Money/Finance/Council-Tax.aspx
https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/what-your-council-tax-pays-for
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-47625966
https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/homes/buying-a-home/how-to-save-money-on-your-council-tax-bill#:~:text=Local%20services%20are%20funded%20by,police%20and%20fire%20services
https://www.wigan.gov.uk/Resident/Council-Tax/Income-and-Spending.aspx
https://www.eastriding.gov.uk/housing/council-tax/what-it-pays-for/
https://www.bradford.gov.uk/media/5239/council-tax-online-leaflet.pdf
https://www.warwickshire-pcc.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/WA1113-Attachment-C-Precept-Consultation-2018-19-FAQs.pdf?x21904

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.