BARNSLEY residents are being forced to shell out more than ever to fund policing - but a police chief said the increase is allowing extra officers to patrol the area.
In February, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings confirmed that the precept for policing will rise by 6.73 per cent - the government’s maximum permitted amount.
It means residents in a band D property will pay an extra £15 per year to fund policing.
Inflation, according to the force, applies to police finances the same as it does to individual households with rising fuel and energy costs, as well as staff pay increases.
Home Office figures show £88.1m in funding for South Yorkshire Police will come from council tax bills in 2023/24 - a real-terms rise of £4.41m from the £83.7m paid in 2022-23, and the highest figure since local, comparable records began in 2015/16.
In total, South Yorkshire will receive £326m next year - up from £325m the year before.
The government will supply an additional £238m.
Dr Billings told the Chronicle: “It is government policy to shift the burden of paying for public services, including policing, from the centre to the council tax payer.
“In the case of policing this is the precept and appears on the council tax bill.
“This year, almost 25 per cent of police costs will be funded from council tax with the government funding 70 per cent.
“The remaining five per cent comes from income and reserves.
“For the past two years the extra funding has in part gone to bring additional police officers into South Yorkshire - 504 from government grants and 220 from local funding.
“These extra officers are being trained and will gradually be seen in neighbourhood and response teams.
“The funding also goes to support a focus I have asked for on such neighbourhood crimes as burglary and car theft and antisocial behaviour
“There will be more foot patrols in the coming months.”
The National Police Chiefs’ Council said the recent increase in investment has enabled them to recruit an extra 20,000 police officers and tackle ‘the most pressing concerns’ for communities, such as burglary and serious violence.
However, a spokesperson warned ‘policing faces significant inflationary pressure due to the impact of increased costs of supplies and services’.
They added: “Continued investment will be needed to ensure that the core services that the public expect are maintained.”
Steve Hartshorn, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, added: “The proactive, consensual policing that the public rightly deserves cannot be achieved without the government and chief officers ensuring the police service has access to the right resources.
“Our forces are struggling due to the scarcity of sustained long-term funding.
“They simply cannot plan ahead in these circumstances.”
Mr Hartshorn added the increase in council tax precept is concerning as it means taxpayers will pay more for the same police service.
He also warned it could lead to a postcode lottery, with wealthier areas better able to allocate more resources and put more officers on the streets.