Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter has announced his proposal for setting a 6.4% increase to the police precept portion of the 2018/19 Council Tax, and is asking residents to give their views in an online survey.
Last month the Home Office announced police forces would receive exactly the same amount of funding from central Government for the coming year as they have received in 2017/18, but Police and Crime Commissioners would have the flexibility to increase funding from local taxpayers through the police precept portion of Council Tax by up to £12 per annum (based on a Band D property), a 6.4% increase compared with the 2% limit applied in previous years.
In the Humberside Police area this would generate an extra £2.2m above what they had planned. The Government is assuming that all PCCs will increase their precepts by the maximum allowed this year and signalled their intention the allow the same increase next year.
In a message to residents, Keith Hunter said: “When I came into office as Police and Crime Commissioner, the results of Government budget cuts to policing had seen Humberside Police lose around a quarter of its police officers since 2010. The effects of such a drastic change have been clear for all to see and police forces nationwide are struggling to cope with increased demand and the complex challenges of modern policing.
“Every community I have spoken to has said they want to see more police officers on the streets, they need to feel safe and reassured. It is disappointing therefore that the Government has not responded with improved funding but has moved the burden onto local taxpayers. What that means is I have been given more flexibility to increase funding through the police precept portion of the council tax to deliver what communities are asking me for, or if not, we stay as we are.
“I have the flexibility to raise the policing precept by 6.4% which equates to £12 per year extra, or 23p per week for a Band D property, however over 80% of properties in the Humberside Police area are in bands A, B and C, therefore the impact on the majority will be less (see the table below).
“Since my election I have worked hard to make the best use of resources available which has enabled the Chief Constable to boost officer numbers, resulting in the biggest recruitment of new police officers in the force’s history. Taking account of inflationary pressures and the desire to continue the existing recruitment drive for a longer period than the current finances allow, I would like to use this perhaps short-lived opportunity to secure extra funding for more police officers that are obviously so desired and needed by our residents.
“By increasing the precept to the maximum permitted by Government, the current recruitment plans will take us from the planned 1,867 police officers next year, up to 1,925 officers by 2020. I was elected on a pledge to the public to provide more officers on the streets, and this increased funding will enable me to keep my promise to you.
The survey closes on 29th January.”