- Council tax payers in Gloucestershire will pay more this year for their police
- An increase in the Police precept of 10.6% equates to £2 per month for the average householder and will give the Constabulary an extra £4.1m to spend
- The Chief Constable says extra investment will lead to more officers attending emergencies and more investigators; an enhanced service when you contact the police; better policing of roads and better support to reduce the risk to vulnerable people
- Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said, “Putting-up the council tax is never an easy decision and I am pleased the police and crime panel agree the police are in need of extra investment”
Gloucestershire County Council’s Police and Crime Panel today unanimously backed Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl’s proposal to put up the amount people pay for the police through council tax precept.
An increase of 10.6%, the maximum permitted by the Home Office, will add an extra £2 per month to a band D householder’s annual bill and give the police a budget of around £119.912m for the current financial year.
Taking into account rising inflation and other commitments agreed by the Government, it will give the Constabulary an extra £4.1m to invest.
Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl says,
“Putting up the council tax precept is not a decision I take lightly. I think police funding should be the responsibility of National Government and should be shared with big business, the big internet companies who must bear much of the responsibility for the increase in web related crime and others.
“Gloucestershire gets one of the lowest grants from Central Government. The balance between central funding and council tax is about 50/50. It’s the Government’s strategy to put the burden on local people so we have no other choice.
“We’ve lobbied everyone – government, ministers and the Chancellor – and there’s no other funding available. If the cuts of the last decade aren’t halted Gloucestershire will be in a weaker position and I’m not prepared to countenance that.
“The police service is under severe pressure, not only from the effects of austerity but also from more wide-ranging and complex crimes. I believe we have reached a watershed and that prudent investment is needed now to enable the police to be one step ahead of the criminal.
“I made a commitment in my police and crime plan for improving our neighbourhood policing. The Chief Constable has made a strong case that increased funding will enhance links with our communities and I will be holding him to that”.
The budget drawn-up by Mr. Surl, and supported by the Police and Crime Panel, also provide for 1% of the policing budget to be made available to continue to support community projects and programmes managed through the Commissioner’s Fund.
It is an approach to crime reduction – the concept and scale of which is unique to Gloucestershire – that now funds nearly 450 local initiatives countywide.
A public consultation which was launched last month and runs until 28 February is also attracting widespread support.