Police chief backs precept increase to cover funding cuts

Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner is asking for the views of local residents on the amount of council tax to be paid for local policing - the police precept.

Tuesday, 3rd January 2017, 7:31 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 12:12 pm
Dame Vera Baird QC

The Government recently announced that Northumbria Police will receive central grant funding of £222.7million in 2017/18, a cash reduction of £3million.

The Government has stated that this figure can be increased to £259.6m in total funding for 2017/18 - but only if the police precept part of the local council tax is raised by £5 per year for a Band D property.

If the precept is not raised by that amount there will be further cuts of up to £1.9m. This is in addition to the funding reduction of over 23 per cent that Northumbria has suffered over the past five years.

In Northumbria people living in a band D property currently pay £93.33 per year in council tax for their police service. A £5.00 per year increase on that figure, as required by the Government, would mean an extra 10p a week. Most residents in Northumbria have a band A property and for those the increase would be less than 7p a week (£3.33 for the full year).

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Northumbria currently has the lowest police precept of all the 43 police forces in England and Wales, by a very long way due to historical factors.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC, said “The Chief Constable and I are doing our very best to preserve the high standards of policing that we are used to here and we have looked at all options to save money to protect neighbourhood policing. This is truly becoming a struggle now with repeated government cuts. If the police precept is not increased by £5 per year for a band D property, it will have a further significant downward impact on what we can achieve.

“Yet again, the Government did not consult on whether the police precept should be increased. They are telling me that we must raise the precept or lose out. I am therefore asking if people would be content to pay a maximum increase of 10p a week on a Band D property to minimise further cuts. I want to hear what local residents think is best for Northumbria.”

Local residents can email their views to enquiries@northumbria-pcc.gov.uk To ensure their views are part of the consultation, residents must include their home address. All responses should be received by January 22.