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Tuesday 11 September 2018, 10:15 AM
  • Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl says there will be another increase in council tax next year to pay for policing.
  • In a report out today, the National Audit Office (NAO) says police forces are ‘struggling to deliver effective services to the public’ due to the 30% cuts in funding over the last eight years.
  • The total police budget for 2018-19 is £12.3bn, but the NAO says overall funding to forces - made up of central government grants and council tax - has fallen by 19% in real terms since 2010-11.
  • Mr. Surl said, “Last year the Home Office contributed about half the police budget for Gloucestershire which is already one of the lowest in the country. It’s now up to me to me to balance the books in such a way that allows the Chief Constable to continue to do his job effectively."

The cost of putting more police officers on the streets means council tax in Gloucestershire will go up again next year. The only question is by how much?

That is the uncomfortable truth behind the Government’s decision not to invest more money in local policing from central funds and put the onus on council tax instead.

 

In a report out today, the National Audit Office (NAO) says police forces are ‘struggling to deliver effective services to the public’ due to the 30% cuts in funding over the last eight years which have put officers and staff under increasing pressure. 

The total police budget for 2018-19 is £12.3bn, but the NAO says overall funding to forces - made up of central government grants and council tax - has fallen by 19% in real terms since 2010-11.

 

Gloucestershire Constabulary is currently preparing alternative cases to present to the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for a rise of 4%, which would raise an additional £1m per year; and a 5.3% increase which would raise an additional £1.7m per year.

As the Home Office has indicated what its grant will be, planning and consultation for 2019/20 can begin much earlier than in previous years and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl has begun the consultation process to canvass local opinion.

Mr. Surl said, “We can’t cut any deeper and there are only two people who can do anything about that, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the PCC.

 

“Last year the Home Office contributed about half the police budget for Gloucestershire which is already one of the lowest in the country. It’s now up to me to me to balance the books in such a way that allows the Chief Constable to continue to do his job effectively.

 “The Home Office has said that next year’s grant will be frozen. But they have also promised the police a well-deserved 2% pay increase, which will have to be paid for by local taxpayers, otherwise it’s the equivalent of a 2% cut in the overall budget. It’s time to say enough is enough.

“Both the Constabulary and my office have been praised by government inspectors for how we have managed our finances but we have to face facts: crime is on the increase. Not by as much in Gloucestershire as in other parts of the country, but people are understandably concerned and want the police to do something about it.

 

“The Home Office recommendation for a 5.3% increase in council tax would mean a band D householder having to pay an extra £12 per year or £1 per month. I am conscious of some people’s ability to pay and it is important they understand why the police are asking for more”.

The law dictates the public must be consulted on any council tax increase.  A survey to hear your views on an increase will be available soon.

Further details on the Constabulary’s neighbourhood policing strategy can be found via the link below:

https://www.gloucestershire-pcc.gov.uk/latest-news-media-martins-blog/neighbourhood-policing-is-very-much-a-priority-in-gloucestershire-for-pcc/

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