The cost of keeping our police force looks set to be frozen for a third year running.

Newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has confirmed she is looking to keep the police precept, which is added to the council tax bill, the same as last year.

The previous two years have seen central government give a supplementary grant to cover the cost of the move.

The Conservative PCC has begun drawing up her budget proposals, which will be discussed with Home Secretary Theresa May in the new year.

Residents are likely to welcome the move which, combined with the Government’s determination to cap council tax increases at 2%, will see the overall bill remain low.

But Bob Brown, chairman of the Sussex Police Federation, said the move could lead to more frontline cuts if a guarantee was not given the grant would be on offer again.

Cut budget

He said: “Unless the grant will pay for it again this time, this will be a real-term cut in the policing budget and on top of savings identified for 2015 and further cuts of one or two per cent over the next few years released in the autumn statement.

“This could see a reduction in the number of police officers serving the community of Sussex and I will do everything in my dealings with the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure it does not happen.”

Mr Brown said the move could be interpreted as an attempt to please voters following Mrs Bourne’s election on November 23, despite Prime Minister David Cameron saying the new roles would not lead to politicisation of the police.

He added: “It is a possibility given the political banner she is elected under. Most of the independent and non-Conservative PCCs have already stated they wish to see increases to police funding.”

There are currently 35 people who have prejoined to become recruits for the Sussex force in May next year but Mr Brown said were the precept to be held he would be worried recruitment would again be frozen.

The current precept is £138.42 for a Band D house in Sussex.

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