This means that people living in an average Band D household will pay an additional £5 towards the police budget.
The money will be collected by Wealden District Council along with sums for town and parish councils, the county council and fire service. There is more on other expected increases here: Uckfield councillor warns of council tax hikes year on year.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne presented her case for a 3.4% rise in precept at a meeting of the Sussex Police and Crime Panel on Friday.
She said this would help deal with an increasing challenge of using digital forensics to investigate crime and to further enhance police capability to tackle child exploitation and abuse of all kinds.
Mrs Bourne gave examples of the work faced by officers. One involved sifting through 56,000 emails to build a case and another involved more than a million indecent images of children on one computer.
Mrs Bourne said: “This is hugely resource intensive, takes a lot of time and takes certain skills. Criminals are very quick to capitalise on the opportunities the digital world gives them and the police need to respond effectively. What we can’t have is a backlog of cases, because this isn’t justice for the victims of these crimes.”
Panel members questioned the commissioner on the impact changes to the policing model would have on her plans.
There was concern that the number of police staff redundancies the force is expected to make would affect improvements in digital forensics and its work with abuse victims.
The Commissioner was asked what the impact on policing would be if the panel rejected the precept. She said: “If the precept doesn’t get supported the money to spend would have to be found and it means that something else would have to give.”
All members of the panel supported the increase. While the settlement will be formally agreed by Government in February, the Commissioner said she expected any potential changes to the funding being minimal.
Despite the proposed investment, Sussex Police will still have to make savings of around £35 million over the next four years to maintain its current position, the commissioner warned.
Speaking after the meeting, panel chairman Cllr Brad Watson said: “Like all other forces and local authorities, Sussex Police has to find ways to deliver a comprehensive service with less money.
“The force is one of the lowest funded forces in the country and we felt the increase was necessary to ensure investment could be made in areas where it was most needed.”
Other reports to the Police and Crime Panel included an update on Sussex Police’s new policing model, and a report on Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s annual inspection of Sussex Police.
See also a webcast of the full meeting.
The next meeting of the Police and Crime Panel will be held on Friday, July 1, 2016.