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Police Funding Survey 2019/20

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The Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Keith Hunter, is asking residents to give their views about police funding in an online survey.

Last month the Home Office announced the provisional funding settlement for police forces for 2019/20 together with details of the referendum principles in respect of increases in Council Tax. As part of the announcement about increased funding for policing the Government assumed that all Police and Crime Commissioners would make maximum use of the flexibility to increase funding from local taxpayers through the police precept, by £24 per year based on a Band D property. The police precept is the part of the Council Tax that contributes towards the total funding available to Police and Crime Commissioner to provide policing, community safety and victims’ services.

In the Humberside Police force area this would generate an extra £3.2m above the £12 increase that was already planned, having taken account of advice from Government last year. This means that an increase of £12 per year for a band D property had already been factored into financial plans for the force. This still left the force facing a requirement to make substantial savings over the next five years if it was to maintain officer numbers around the current levels.

In a message to residents, Keith Hunter said: “As widely reported we had expected to have to make significant and very damaging budget cuts next year following announcements in the autumn that all forces would have to make substantial and unnecessary additional contributions in respect of police officer pensions. The funding settlement announced by Government will go some way to offset that requirement which would have severely impacted on our existing plans. However not all of those costs are being met for Humberside police and we would still have to make cuts to meet some of those costs together with inflation and other cost and demand pressures. The bulk of the additional funding announced by Government will only come about if PCCs raise taxes locally to pay for it. The Government claim credit for giving policing a major boost, but in reality they have merely once again passed the buck to hard-pressed local taxpayers to provide the lion’s share of it. I have never been a supporter of this approach as it benefits more affluent areas of the country who are able to raise a larger sum through their council tax base.

“Police and Crime and Commissioners, together with Chief Constables and MPs across the country have lobbied Government hard to address the pensions issue and to improve funding for overstretched police forces. The Government will conduct a spending review in 2019 and we are already working with the Home Office to make a clear case to HM Treasury for all police forces to be adequately funded.          

"We are taking some time to work through the detail of the funding announcement and reviewing our financial plans to ensure we maintain the growth in officer numbers we have seen and improvements that Humberside Police is currently experiencing. I have asked our finance team to present all options to me by the middle of January to inform me in making my decision on setting the level of Council Tax Precept for 2019/20.    

“As your elected representative on policing, I want to deliver what residents were asking of me when I was elected in 2016, by providing the resources to Humberside Police to enable them to deliver an improved service, put more police on the streets and make our communities safer.

“In the last two years, particularly since the appointment of Chief Constable Lee Freeman, we have worked hard to manage our finances and embark on the biggest recruitment of new officers in the force’s history. By next spring Humberside Police will have around 350 more officers than we did in 2016, and the difference is being felt in our communities. The performance of the force control centre which handles calls has improved dramatically, and independent scrutiny by Her Majesty’s Inspectors has been extremely positive, with inspection results to be announced next spring which we expect to show a marked improvement.

“This all means that Humberside Police is on a significant journey of improvement. Morale amongst officers and staff has greatly improved and we want this to continue for the benefit of all our communities, who also have their part to play in that progress.

“I want to see improved funding for policing from Central Government and believe that is the only fair way to fund policing. I am, however, elected to make the right decisions that will improve policing locally and must live with the decisions taken by this Government.

“I have options that range from not increasing the precept at all, which would lead to an immediate and damaging reversal of the advances made by the force over the past two years and a significant reduction in officers and staff, to following the presumption of the Government and raising the precept by £24 per year for a band D Property. That increase would provide an additional £3.2m allowing a consolidation of the advances made recently with an eased requirement to make savings from reducing staffing levels in coming years. That reduced savings requirement will allow the re-established neighbourhood policing function of the force to continue to develop its offer to all our communities.

“I regret I am in the position where the only option to provide a police force capable of meeting the needs and desires of our communities and protecting the vulnerable is through an increase in local taxation but that is a situation created by the government.

“I would point out that the majority of households within the Humberside police area fall within bandings A, B and C so the financial burden would be an increase of less than £24 per year, at the maximum. The actual potential costs at the maximum increase are outlined in the table below.

“This decision is mine to make but I would welcome your views by clicking the survey link below. I will repeat that I do not support this means of paying for policing but there is no other option currently available. There should be no doubt that failing to increase the precept will see an immediate and hugely damaging reduction in the capacity of Humberside police to meet current and future demands and, even at the maximum, any increase would be measured in pennies per week.

“I will then make my proposal by the end of January which must be approved by the Humberside Police and Crime Panel.”   

CLICK HERE TO GIVE YOUR VIEWS  - Survey closes Thursday 31st January

Residents can check which council tax band their property is in at:  www.gov.uk/council-tax-bands

Band

2018/19

2019/20

Increase %

Increase

Increase/ week

 

£

£

 

£

£/ week

A

132.88

148.88

 

16.00

0.31

B

155.03

173.69

 

18.66

0.36

C

177.17

198.51

 

21.34

0.41

D

199.32

223.32

12.04

24.00

0.46

E

243.61

272.95

 

29.34

0.56

F

287.91

322.57

 

34.66

0.67

G

332.20

372.20

 

40.00

0.77

H

398.64

446.64

 

48.00

0.92

           

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on Monday 7th January 2019