01:15PM, Monday 07 January 2019
A proposal to raise council tax by twice as much as last year has been made by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) of Thames Valley Police to keep up with rising financial pressures.
Writing to Thames Valley residents, Anthony Stansfeld has proposed increasing the policing element of the council tax precept by £24 a year for a Band D property, despite it being increased by £12 last year, due to increased demand and costs.
This would mean the £182.28 paid by Band D households would go up to £206.28 in 2019/20.
The council tax precept accounts for 43 per cent of Thames Valley Police's funding, the rest coming from central Government grants.
Thames Valley Police’s budget has been cut by £101 million over the past eight years, resulting in a significant number of job losses.
This is in addition to rising costs, including police officer and staff pay increases, price inflation and police officer pension contributions and budget items committed for growth.
“The process of identifying new cash savings is becoming ever more challenging, however we are committed to making policing even more efficient and have already identified over £4m of new savings in 2019/20,” Mr Stansfeld said.
Mr Stansfeld’s proposal is in line with the Government encouraging all PCCs to raise the policing precept by £2 a month for Band D properties.
On December 13, Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced the provisional police funding settlement for 2019/20 which will increase the funding available to PCCs by up to £813 million, provided all PCCs increase their council tax to the proposed amount.
The tax hike will mean PCCs will collectively raise £509 million of the £813 millions funding increase.
“This new settlement will mean that forces can continue to provide an effective service, against the rising tide of demand and complexity in their critical work to fight crime and protect the public,” Mr Stansfeld said.
He added: “Demand on police forces nationally has risen significantly in the last year as a result of higher crime numbers, the increasing complexity of crime and the increasing reach of criminals both physically and via technology.”
He reports an national increase in child sexual abuse and modern slavery, knife crime, gang culture and a growing challenge from serious and organised crime networks, who are growing in economic value and geographical spread.
“A significant amount of the more serious crime is now being committed by foreign national offenders, he added.
Police are also dealing with a large number of non-crime issues, especially relating to mental health.
A consultation on the proposals was held over the Christmas period and an online survey closes on Wednesday this week.
Visit http://sgiz.eu/s3/Policing-budget-council-tax-2019-20 to have your say and to see proposed increases for other property bands.
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