People living in Derbyshire are being asked whether they support a small increase in the amount they pay towards policing to avoid further cuts to services.
Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles is proposing to increase the policing portion of the council tax bill by 2% in 2016-17 to help fill the anticipated budget gap and support police officer numbers.
In his recent Comprehensive Spending Review, Chancellor George Osbourne pledged to protect police funding and invest nationally in firearms capability in the wake of the Paris atrocities. However, in doing this he made an assumption that PCCs will raise additional revenue through a 2% increase in the amount of council tax paid towards policing.
PCC Alan Charles said: “While I welcome the Chancellor’s pledge of no further cuts we must not forget that we are still dealing with the fallout of the £23m cuts imposed by the Government over the last spending review.
“Residents currently pay about £3.34 per week for a Band D property and a 2% increase would bring this to £3.41 per week equating to a total increase for the whole year of £3.47. This would generate an extra £1m for the Force and go some way to protecting frontline services in Derbyshire.
“Increasing the precept is never an easy decision but, in order to maintain his pledge to protect police funding, the Chancellor has assumed that Commissioners will increase the locally raised funding by 2%. This, along with the proposed government grant, will allow an investment in services in the foreseeable future which will be a positive start to the new policing year.
“Before any decision is taken, however, I want to find out how local people feel about a potential increase in the precept. While I am responsible for ensuring the Force is sufficiently resourced to protect our communities and target the crimes that matter most to local people, I’m also mindful of overburdening our residents with higher household bills. Now is the time to tell me what you think.”
The Commissioner has launched an online survey asking for local people’s views about the budget and importantly whether they support the proposed 2% rise.
It also asks whether the respondent has been a victim of crime and whether they were satisfied by the way police handled their case.
The PCC has worked closely with the Force to minimise the risks of financial shortfalls in previous years on service levels which has led to changes in the way it operates – including fewer police officers and staff.
The Force continues to be challenged by increasing demand pressures and emerging threats to public safety including digital and cyber-crime which require investment to increase investigation capabilities.
Mr Charles said he would continue to work closely with the Chief Constable to deliver services that are responsive to public need and current threats while maximising returns for local taxpayers. He supports the Chief Constable’s review of Derbyshire’s policing risk, the results of which will help direct where resources are allocated.
The survey can be found by clicking this link: http://www.derbyshire-pcc.gov.uk/budgetconsultation2016-17
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Tuesday 5th January 2016