Gloucestershire County Council’s Police and Crime Panel today (Thursday Feb 5th) approved Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl’s proposal for a standstill budget.

The total Police and Crime budget for Gloucestershire for 2015/16 is £105.095m. Residents in the county living in a Band D house will pay £207.73, the same as last year.

An alternative proposal to veto the budget in support of the Chief Constable’s request for a 1.99% increase, did not receive the required support of the panel.

Mr. Surl said,

“The Chief Constable made a very strong case. The only reason I didn’t recommend an increase myself was because I made a promise last year that I would not raise the precept this time unless there were exceptional circumstances.

“The Chief Constable and all my advisors tell me these are exceptional circumstances. The Police and Crime Panel is also there to support and offer advice to the Commissioner so I thought it sensible to seek their opinion.

“Members were committed in their views both for and against an increase and I respect their decision.

“But make no mistake, these are very challenging times for all public bodies and there’s no doubt it will get tougher for the police before it gets better. We cannot hide from that and the chances of another freeze next year are remote.”

Speaking after the meeting, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said

“I fully recognise the Police and Crime Panel’s commitment to a council tax freeze in 2015/16 and therefore a decision has been made to pause police officer recruitment from April this year, with every effort being made to keep officer reductions to a minimum.

 “We are making best use of the latest technology by rolling out new Mobile Data Terminals so that our front line officers can access key data and intelligence while out on patrol.  Regarding working in Partnership with other Forces to best advantage, we currently operate a Tri-Force model with Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Wiltshire Police for roads police and dogs.

“All in all, the public can continue to rely on us and I remain upbeat about our plans for the future.”