The Government today announced a package of measures which, if they are confirmed, it claims will amount to £12.4m more in the Derbyshire Constabulary pot.
However, to achieve this, it has increased the amount that can be raised via the local council tax. As a result council tax bills look set to rise by up to £24 a year for an average household – and this is just the police portion.
The provisional Police Funding Settlement states that the Government is raising around £970m for policing nationally. This, says Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa, proves his longstanding argument that austerity-driven cuts have gone too far for too long.
He said today: “True, we appear to be receiving £12.4m more than last year, but I believe that the majority of this uplift should come from Central Government in the form of grant funding. However, the Government clearly expects local people to pick up the increase.
“And, to be absolutely clear, this is not a £12.4m bonanza. Three-quarters of this is already committed. This means at best I have £4m to spend on operational frontline policing and only if I raise council tax precept by £24 per year.
“If the Government’s plans get the go ahead, the amount of council tax paid towards policing in Derbyshire, currently at £192.60 a year for a Band D property, will rise to £216.60 per annum.
Hardyal Dhindsa said: “There is no doubt that this money is much needed. Derbyshire’s police funding has fallen by £40m in real terms since 2010. We have lost over 400 officers and a further 400 members of staff. Crime is going up after years of reductions. It is a toxic cocktail.
“True, the problems in Derbyshire are not nearly as bad as other areas. In fact, Derbyshire is one of the safest places according to Government statistics.
“But, and I’m pretty sure I speak for all our residents, I would like it to stay that way. People tell me they want more visibility, more technology alongside a greater focus on online crime, on hate crime or child sexual exploitation. Well, the only way we can do all that and more besides is if we have more money to do it with.
“It’s also important to point out that this money will not dissolve the current problems overnight. It will take years to undo the damage of the last few years.
“Cutting crime costs. Keeping people safe costs. And I have pledged to do both of those to the best of my ability. The Government’s plan is not the way I would have chosen to raise this essential funding, but I don’t believe we can afford to be choosy.”
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Posted on Thursday 13th December 2018