Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach is asking people if they are prepared to pay more council tax to support their local police force.
The PCC has launched an online survey to help him set the budget for 2020-21 and is urging residents to spare a couple of minutes to share their views.
The survey asks people if they support the prospect of paying more towards policing next year and whether they think Leicestershire should receive more central funding.
Between 2010 and 2018, the number of police officers in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland fell by 541 – around 23% – while nationally they plummeted by 20,000, their lowest level for 30 years.
The 2019-20 budget, with help from the extra funding raised through council tax, enabled the PCC to fund an additional 107 police officers, of which 80 are being recruited in the 2019-20 financial year, with the remaining 27 in 2020-21.
Despite a promised uplift of 20,000 police officers nationally over the next three years, it is still unclear how many will be allocated to Leicestershire and how the recruitment will be funded.
However, more are desperately needed to tackle community problems and new threats posed by terrorism, child sexual exploitation, human trafficking, modern slavery and online crime.
“I will not compromise your safety whilst we wait,” said Willy Bach. “We need to ensure that we have funds in the future to sustain these numbers otherwise we will simply lose other resources to balance the budget.
“The increases in police numbers that I have been able to make over the past few years have had an impact on crime locally, but the national picture is still a worrying one and the threats are very challenging.
“Reductions in funding have been accompanied by a national increase in recorded crime. There are unavoidable costs which have to be met and which reduce the overall level of resources I have at my disposal. I’m keen to invest in our police and want to ensure the force has the resources it needs to provide the type of police service you expect and deserve.”
Approximately two thirds of police funding comes from central government – the rest is raised through council tax.
“The Government’s grant looks set to continue to decline in real terms,” he said.
“So that Leicestershire Police can provide the best possible service to local communities, I have little option but to consider increasing the policing element of your local council Band D tax bill. This in line with what the Government has said it expects PCCs across the country to do.”
To complete the survey visit: https://www.leics.pcc.police.uk/Home.aspx
[Source: Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner]