Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall has welcomed the unanimous support given today by the Police and Crime Panel on the proposal to increase the policing part of the council tax as part of the budget setting process.
It is proposed that the policing council tax precept would be increased by 1.91% for the next financial year 2017/18. This is an increase of £4.14 per annum for a band D property and takes the total policing element of the council tax at band D to £220.77 per annum and a Band B increases by £3.22 to £171.71 per annum.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall said: “I am grateful that the Police and Crime Panel unanimously recognised the need and were able to support the proposal to increase the policing part of the council tax by 1.91%. Council tax is a key income stream for the policing budget.
“The increase comes to cover the costs of inflation and budget pressures that have been evident during 2016/17 with the Constabulary forecast to be in an over-spend position at the end of the financial year. The Constabulary has made £22million in savings since 2009.
“Also, we know that our other main income stream (funding formula) is under review and we need to be in the best position to meet any potential challenges. We are already in early dialogue with the Home Office and we expect the consultation stage to be in spring 2017.
“At the same time as pressure on the income streams the changing nature of policing is also having an impact. Crime is becoming more complex and taking longer to resolve, on average 27 minutes longer to resolve compared to 2014. People missing from home has increased by 150% over the last three years with 2,272 incidents in the 12 months to September 2016.
“The number of sex offences has increased. This increase reflects public confidence to come forward. In the 12 months to September rape has increased by 17% to 279 crimes and other sexual offences has increased by 21% to 626 and we must remain resourced to combat this crime.
“The Chief Constable has requested additional funding to support the Constabulary to deal with the changing nature of crime. As Police and Crime Commissioner I am proposing as a result of the council tax increase to fund some additional police officer posts as well as civilian investigators to support the police investigations into sexual offences.
“I am in the process of gathering the views of the public, Chief Constable and together with the Police Crime Panel’s support will be able to finalise the budget which will be done formally at my Public Accountability Conference on Wednesday 22 February.”
Chief Constable, Jerry Graham said: “The precept increase for policing is necessary to ensure that Cumbria Constabulary retains the capacity and capability to protect the communities of Cumbria.”