The Government has revealed its provisional financial settlement for policing with a package of measures purported to be worth £970M nationally towards policing – but only if Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) use their council tax precept allowance fully.
To enable it to claim this increase, the Government has raised the ceiling on the amount PCCs can increase council tax in 2019/20 to £24 for a Band D household. And the Government’s figure of £970m is predicated on PCCs doing just that.
In Leicestershire a 12% increase equates to approximately £7.728m. Lord Willy Bach, Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, is currently consulting local people on their willingness to pay more to support policing.
Within the headline figure there is also funding for increasing pensions costs, counter terrorism and to help combat further serious and organised crime.
Willy Bach said: “This is a clear admission from the Government that policing has been stretched too thinly for too long. Austerity has come at a huge cost and now the Government expects Police and Crime Commissioners to ask local people to pick up that bill.
“In reality, we will have little option but to do what the Government wants in order to keep our communities safe.
“When I was elected in 2016, I pledged to increase police numbers. This promise is always well received when I’m out and about in Leicestershire; and it’s a promise that I really want to keep.
“Today’s announcement shows that the Government has realised the current fragility of policing caused by year after year of harsh cuts. But I am disappointed that it is relying so heavily on local people to make up the deficit.
“That’s why I am currently consulting with local people on their willingness to pay up to £2 more towards policing per month in 2019/20. That is for a Band D property so obviously the amount moves up or down depending on the banding of individual properties. But the feedback so far is showing that the majority of people are keen to support their local police.”
After taking into account property growth within the area an increase of 12% or £24 a year for a Band D property will produce an additional £7.7m for policing. In total, the figures announced today will mean policing in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland will receive up to £12.7m more than last year although there are significant existing or emerging cost pressures that will have to be met from this.
If the Government’s plans get the go ahead, the amount of council tax paid towards policing in Leicestershire, currently set at £199.23 a year for a Band D property, will rise to £223.23 per annum.
See also: EYE news item 10/12/2018 PCC seeks views on possible Council Tax increase
» OPCC budget consultation (Link opens in a new browser window)