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Police Funding 2021/22 - Give Your Views

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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. Please read the Commissioner's statement and give us your views by clicking the survey link at the end.

This is a statutory consultation which means that the Government has imposed a duty on Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to consult the public about how much is added to Council Tax bills to contribute towards the costs of ensuring Humberside Police can operate effectively.

The way the police service is funded, and how available funds are spent, providing the day to day emergency, neighbourhood and investigative services we all rely upon, is massively complicated and detailed. Add to this having to invest in the future of policing through such things as decent vehicles, computers and buildings, to ensure the service can continue to improve, and the picture becomes even more complex.

During my term of office as PCC the comment that has been most repeated to me was that people want to see more police officers. Even in the face of continuing cuts from central government I have delivered that. The government has now belatedly started to increase, in real terms, what it spends on policing, as it seeks to replace the 20,000+ officers lost during the period it significantly reduced funding on the police. The way they are providing that additional money only adds to the complexity and it is naturally difficult for members of the public to understand what a single headline figure means in reality, when fed into the detailed financial model we must operate.

For the next year the government have provisionally allocated the Humberside area more money, but specifically to deliver an increase of 95 Police officers. The money allocated for those additional officers must be spent only on them and their recruitment, training, equipment etc. For the remainder of the 2000+ Police officers and approximately 1200 police staff we already have, the government have allocated a below inflation grant and have placed a virtual requirement on PCCs to raise the amount they receive through council tax by £15 per year for a band D property. All the government’s calculations about the available funding for policing nationally builds in that assumption.

Last year I had some financial flexibility and increased Council Tax by one of the lowest rates in the country, and way below what the Government expected us to do. I was able to do that through the sound financial planning which had allowed Humberside Police to recruit more officers proportionately than any other police force in the country.  This year because of another below inflation allocation from government, for the officers and staff we already employ, I have no real flexibility. If I do not increase by the amount stipulated by government the reality is jobs will be lost. That will mean fewer police officers and fewer police staff, with other officers being pulled from your neighbourhoods to fill the jobs that our excellent police staff should be performing.

In my many discussions with members of the public I have never heard anyone saying they want fewer officers. Humberside Police has made huge strides over recent years and is a transformed organisation, recognised as the most improved police force in the country, but it still needs further investment of officers, staff and equipment if it is to deliver the level and style of visible, interactive and responsive policing it is building now. Reducing the level of policing now would be to start turning the clock back.

Policing isn’t just about responding to your call when you need a policing service. After such a terrible year, when so many have suffered in so many ways, we all know our economy has also suffered. I really want our area to be ready to grow the economy and support the businesses to flourish that will provide the jobs that so many will need as we start to progress again. Having a safe environment, that isn’t a byword for deprivation and crime, and having a police service that is nationally renowned for excellence, not failure, are small but vital parts of promoting our area and planting the seeds for a prosperous future for us all. Just as Humberside Police has shaken off its reputation as a failing force and we are seeing crime reducing here, when it isn’t in many other parts of the country, now is not the time to start going backwards again.

The majority of properties within the Humberside Police area are in lower Council Tax bands than D, on which the Government bases its financial forecasts. 34% of households are in band A , 21% in band B and 16% in band C so, for the vast majority, the proposed increases are somewhat smaller. I fully understand any increase is unwelcome in these financially challenging times but for the sake of literally pennies per week we can save jobs and continue the improvement in Humberside Police that will benefit everyone.

The independent police inspectorate rated the Humberside Force ‘Good’ at efficiency at its last inspection and I have not eased the pressure to improve further since then. Even with the increase proposed, I have still set an efficiency saving requirement for the force of over £8m. This is a very challenging figure given efficiency savings already delivered. So you may rest assured the increase is not to support inefficiency but to fill the hole created by the rules attached to government funding, allowing us to retain the police officers and police staff that deliver a safer environment for you all and provide the service you all rely upon when you really need it.

The question I am asking you in this survey, therefore, is would you support an increase in council tax in line with the below amounts, depending on which council tax band you are in. You will also be asked which areas of policing are the most important to you. A failure to increase the precept by the requested amount would mean a reduction in officers and if that is something you support, could you also please indicate the area of operation you feel should be reduced as a consequence.

It should be noted that 75% of the total police budget is salary costs. Inflationary pressure in non-pay costs leave no room for additional reductions on top of those already planned for in the required efficiency savings. Any shortfall in budget will lead to loss of jobs. Thank you for taking the time to give me your views.

Keith Hunter - Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside

CLICK HERE to take the survey and give your views. We regret we cannot respond to individual submissions.

The survey closes on Friday 22nd January 2021 at 5pm

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

Council Tax Band

% of households in the Humberside Police Area

Pence per week increase

£ per month increase

A

34%

19p

£0.83

B

21%

22p

£0.97

C

16%

26p

£1.11

D

13%

29p

£1.25

E

9%

35p

£1.53

F

4%

42p

£1.80

G

2%

48p

£2.08

H

1%

58p

£2.50

 

 

Posted on Tuesday 22nd December 2020