Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 18, 2016

Police Begging Bowl Makes Its Annual Appearance

In yet another striking similarity to previous years, as at “last year 4 December, 2015. How much are you willing to pay for your police?” and previously “4 December, 2014 how much are you willing to pay for policing in Lancashire?” our Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw begbowl, has launched a survey asking the public if they want to freeze or increase the amount they pay towards policing in the county. The Commissioner is responsible for setting the budget for the police and for deciding the amount of council tax (known as the precept) the public in Lancashire pay towards it. As a police force Lancashire receives over 70% of its funding through central government and 26% via the council tax precept.

The public will be asked if they want to: freeze the payment at the current levels; increase it by 2% an average of 6p per week; or increase it by 5% an average of 16p per week. Any increase would help safeguard police jobs.

The Commissioner clivegrun explained “I have promised to listen to the people of Lancashire when making decisions and I regularly ask for feedback on police and crime priorities and every year I consult residents before setting the council tax precept. A 2% increase in the payment for someone living in a house valued at band D is around 6p a week, or £3.18 a year, but across Lancashire that would amount to just under £1.4m which is the equivalent cost of 26 police officer jobs or 49 PCSOs. A 5% increase for the same properties would cost an extra 16p per week or an extra £8.12 a year and raise £3.4m – the equivalent cost of 66 police officers or 120 PCSOs. For those living in properties valued a band A to C the increase would be less”.

Mr Grunshaw has promised that any increase in council tax will be directed to local policing to maintain teams. He added “It’s not easy asking people if they want to pay more, especially as many people will probably not have seen their own income rise for some time. The police in Lancashire have already saved £76m so far from the annual budget due to Government cuts to our funding and rising costs and we have another £16.6m of savings a year to find by 2020. This has impacted on police numbers across the county, we now have 800 fewer officers and 450 less police staff than we did in 2010. An increase in the council tax precept would help us maintain numbers at current levels but is unlikely to see officer numbers increased. Our services are extremely stretched, especially as we are seeing local councils have to cut vital services that provide help to many vulnerable people. That translates to increased demand for the police as we become the service of last resort”.

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