Police Precept Consultation results back proposals for 1.99% rise

Proposals for a 1.99% increase in the 2016/17 Police Precept – the smaller portion of Council Tax which goes towards the police budget – have received overwhelming backing in a public consultation organised by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball.

The survey, which was available online, by email or by post, asked the public the simple question: “Are you willing to spend an extra 31p per month for an average Band D property in order to maintain frontline policing levels?” The consultation was promoted online, through the local media and via social media throughout December until its closing on Monday (January 18).

A total of 1,026 people responded, with 1,013 identifying that they lived within Warwickshire.  Among the Warwickshire residents, 839 (82.82%) were in favour of the proposed increase, with 174 (17.18) voting against the rise.

The 1.99% increase, if approved, would only apply to the police precept element of the council tax bill.  The overall council tax bill includes council and fire precepts, which are decided separately by their relevant authorities.

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball said:

“I have always been keen to take account of public feedback on issues such as this – I don’t make proposals for tax increases (even relatively modest ones) lightly, so it is good to hear that there is public support for what I am seeking to achieve.

“With the confirmation from the Home Office that the overall police budget would decrease by 1.3% in real terms over the next four years unless PCCs increase their precepts by the maximum amount permitted (rises are capped at 2% by the Government), this is in my view a sensible course of action.

“While the effect in the taxpayer’s individual pockets is modest – a Band D taxpayer, for example, would see a rise of around a penny a day – the impact for Warwickshire Police’s budget is much more significant. If the current police precept rate was frozen, Warwickshire Police would lose around £7000,000 next year and in each subsequent year, resulting in a financial gap of around £2.8 million by 2020.

“I inherited a sound financial platform from the former Police Authority when I became Commissioner, which prepared the force well for the funding cuts that were then ahead.  With increased investment being needed in a number of areas such as child protection, counter-terrorism, firearms policing and cybercrime, there will still be pressure on force budgets and continued innovative thinking will be needed. I am determined, therefore, to leave my successor – whoever that might be – with a similarly strong platform to build on for the future.

“It is on this basis that I will be making my recommendations to the Police and Crime Panel next month.”

The Commissioner’s proposed increase will be presented to the Police and Crime Panel on 3 February.  The Panel can approve the proposed rise or use their power of veto and ask the Commissioner to come back with an alternative proposal.  Any subsequent proposal made by the Commissioner will be binding.

 

Link to this story on the Police Commissioners website:

http://www.warwickshire-pcc.gov.uk/police-precept-consultation-results-back-proposals-for-1-99-rise/

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