Authority seeks views on police budget

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WARWICKSHIRE Police Authority is asking members of the public to share their views on the level of policing budget in 2012/13.

The authority has a challenging task to reduce the police budget by £22.9m over the next four years, based on a budget of £100m, while continuing to deliver the maximum protection possible for local communities.

Police authority chief executive, Oliver Winters, said the cost-reduction process was already well underway with the implementation of a new policing model and an alliance with West Mercia Police, both of which are designed to deliver high-quality value for money policing at less cost.

The authority has been offered a government grant of three per cent if it agrees to freeze local council tax levels in 2013/14. However, this grant is for one year only and will increase the force’s budget gap in subsequent years, requiring additional reductions in services or facilities in the future.

“In setting the 2012/13 council tax, the police authority is faced with a very difficult choice. At one extreme, by accepting the government’s offer of a grant to freeze the council tax in 2012/13, the council tax will not increase for local taxpayers next year, but the authority will have to make additional cuts in policing budgets from 2013/14, an amount equivalent to about 27 police officers.

“At the other end of the spectrum, an increase of four per cent in the council tax would cushion some of the reductions in policing, but would add additional pressure to already stretched household budgets. An increase of four per cent would be around £7 a year extra on the council tax, or 60p per month, on the average property.”

The authority meets on February 22 2012 to set the budget and encourages everyone to have their say before this date.

Further information is available on the authority’s website: http://www.warwickshirepa.gov.uk/community-engagement/council-tax-consultation-2012-13 together with details about how to contact the authority.