Would you pay an extra penny a day in order to protect frontline policing? That’s the question being asked by Warwickshire’s Police and Crime and Commissioner, Ron Ball.
Mr Ball is keen to hear the community’s views on policing in the county as he prepares to set the 2016/2017 police budget.
In November, the Government announced plans in its Comprehensive Spending Review to keep policing budgets at current levels during the life of this Parliament.
As has now been made clear by the Home Secretary in a letter to police and crime commissioners (PCC), the only way that police funding will remain at the same level will be if the police precept – the small portion of each council tax bill that pays for policing – is raised by the maximum permitted amount of 1.99 per cent each year by every PCC. Without this, Government funding to policing will actually be reduced by 1.3 per cent in real terms over four years.
Mr Ball has proposed that the police precept is raised by 1.99 per cent next year – equivalent to 31p per month or £3.75 per year on average for a Band D property.
If the current police precept rate was frozen, Warwickshire Police would lose around £0.709 million next year and £0.709 million in each subsequent year, resulting in a financial gap of around £2.836 million by 2020. Mr Ball said this would have a significant impact on frontline policing and could reverse the recent efforts which have seen the proportion of officers on the frontline increase to 95 percent, which is above the national average.
Mr Ball said: “While Warwickshire Police is investing heavily in seeking new and better ways of working in order to make further efficiency savings, it is clear that there are still considerable financial pressures in the years ahead. The decisions we take now will have an impact in every subsequent year and I am determined that I will not leave my successor in a bind with a continually eroding police budget.
“I don’t make proposals to increase the police element of council tax lightly but I believe at the current time it is essential. With only a very small increase in the amount each tax payer contributes across the year, significant resources can be raised to maintain frontline policing and ensure that the public continues to receive a high-class service.
“I don’t believe this is unreasonable but I am keen to hear the public’s views on this before I make my final decision.”
You can have your say by completing an online survey, answering 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 closes at midday on Monday, January 18, 2016.