This year policing in Derbyshire will cost £169.17m and this is paid for by a combination of Government grant and local taxpayers’ contributions through their council tax payments. The Government’s contribution towards paying for policing in Derbyshire has been reduced, when inflation is taken into account, by the equivalent of £40m since 2010, and so the local council taxpayer has been asked to pay a bigger share of the total cost. That cut in Government funding has forced the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Chief Constable to make difficult decisions about the service that they provide to you. In particular, it has meant that there are now approximately 400 fewer police officers, along with 400 fewer civilian staff to support them in their effort to keep you and Derbyshire safe.
Each year the Government limits the amount by which the Commissioner can raise your council tax (known as the cap). For the last few years the cap was set at 2%, but this year, the Government raised the cap to a maximum of £12 on a band D property. This increase raised an additional £4.4m of much needed income. With that money the Commissioner and Chief Constable were not only able to avoid any further cuts, but have increased police officer numbers by 25 (taking our establishment to 1,700 full-time equivalents). This money has been used to invest in policing those crimes that both the Chief Constable and his partners in Derbyshire identified as presenting the greatest threat, risk and harm to our communities. This included Child Abuse, Child Sexual Exploitation, Domestic Abuse, Sexual Violence, Domestic Extremism and Organised Crime.
Next year (2019/20), the Commissioner and Chief Constable want to turn their focus to improving neighbourhood policing and increase the number of people in our Safer Neighbourhood Teams. To do that, we need to further increase our police officer numbers and to support them with additional Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and Police Staff Investigators, to help investigate crimes and work with communities. They also have a plan to improve and modernise our police stations, and make sure that police officers have access to the right technology and equipment.
However, our resources and funding continue to be spread thinly and, so far, the Government has said that next year it will not give us any extra money towards the cost of policing in our county. Over the years, we have used our reserves to make up for some of the cuts in Government grant. What reserves we have left are now committed to paying for some of these improvements, and so the only way to pay for these additional police officers and civilian staff is to raise the council tax.
Along with freezing the grant, the Government has said that once again it will increase the cap so that council taxpayers can pay more towards the cost of policing. For a Band D property this would be another increase of £12. Reluctantly, the Commissioner has decided to consider another £12 increase in the precept in 2019/20 (23p per week). That increase will give him and the Chief Constable an extra £4.5m per year and allow them to employ the additional police officers and civilian staff they need to deliver on their plan to increase visibility and invest in our communities. However, before he makes his mind up, the Commissioner would like to know how you feel about this proposal and the further questions within the below survey.