Ratepayers will pay an additional 1.99 per cent in council tax, after an increase for policing was unanimously approved by Surrey’s “forever strapped-for-cash” Police and Crime Panel today.

The average Surrey resident – living in a Band D property – will pay £224.57 for the policing element of council tax for the financial year 2017/18.

The increase, which will come into effect from April, was necessary because of increasingly complex crime and to help retain and recruit new trainees, according to Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Munro.

£1.4 million was also transferred from the PCC’s reserve – the amount which was not spent this year – to help fund this year’s budget. But the PCC also has to save £5.5 million to “achieve financial balance”, documents placed before today’s Police and Crime Panel show.

The Office of the PCC ran a consultation between November and January in which 65 per cent of respondents supported the increase.

Of the county’s 1 million-plus population, more than 2,100 people answered the survey on Commissioner Munro’s proposed rise in precept for policing.

Mr Munro said: “I want to ensure that taxpayers pay no more than is absolutely necessary for an effective policing service.

“However, I also have to strike a balance with giving Surrey Police the sufficient resources to keep the county’s residents safe. Asking the public for more money is never an easy option and I can assure you I have not taken this decision lightly.

“The changing nature of crime has meant that the policing environment today is more complex than ever before and we must train and equip our officers sufficiently to meet those challenges.

Mr Munro added: “We are going to be strapped for cash forever. The government are not in a generous mood, and they never will be.”

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