Posted: Thursday 6th February 2014
This week I met with the Police and Crime Panel, and proposed raising the portion of your council tax used to pay for policing by just under 2%. The panel did not support, but did not veto my proposal, and I will now consider their comments before making my decision. What would an increase mean for your household, and for Humberside Police?
The average band B household would pay around 5p per week more for your police service than you do at present, or just over £2 more per year. At a time when finances are tight for many people, it’s a difficult decision to ask for more and you have every right to ask ‘What will it do for me?’
Like all other public sector services, Humberside Police are having to make some very tough decisions at the moment to play our part in reducing the deficit, but at the same time we must make sure we are able to protect you with the resources we will have available to us in the coming years. These are decisions not just for today, but for the next five years. It’s not simply about reductions in funding from central government, our costs will increase too. We will pay more in fuel, heating and lighting buildings. One simple decision alone can have huge consequences, for example future changes in our national insurance contributions will cost the service £3.3million in 2016/17.
As around 85% of our budget is spent on people (we have approximately 2000 police officers and PCSO’s plus 1500 support staff) it is unavoidable there will be reductions in personnel, and our plans are taking this into account.
Every other Saturday, I hold Street Surgeries in your villages, towns and the city of Hull. It’s important to me to hear how you feel about policing so I can make the best decisions on your behalf. Often people refer to Humberside Police as ‘my’ police force. It doesn’t belong to me or even the Chief Constable, it’s your police force, and you are telling me week in, week out just how important your police service is to you, and asking me to protect local policing. So I commissioned a survey to take a sample of opinion across the force area on whether a small increase in the precept would be acceptable to lessen reductions in staff and enable us to invest in new technology to keep them out on patrol in our communities where the public want to see them. 75% of those surveyed both over the phone and face to face at my surgeries said ‘yes’.
That small increase is your investment in your police, and you deserve value for money, which is why the changes being made to the internal structure of the service will have the public at the heart of everything we do. My promise to you is that The Chief Constable and I will keep you fully informed on how the force is being modernised to better meet your needs, both now and in the future, because it’s YOUR police service.