Would you pay an extra £1 a month to fund the police's £11m shortfall?
PUBLISHED: 15:46 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:48 28 December 2017
Taxpayers are being asked whether they would be happy to pay an extra £1 a month to fund the police.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary must find £11million in savings next year and hopes to reduce the deficit by raising its part of council tax bills.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens will hold drop-in events – including one in Weston’s Sovereign Shopping Centre at 3.15pm on January 10 – to help her assess funding options.
She has proposed a 6.6 per cent increase in the police precept for 2018/19. This amounts to a rise of £1 a month per household, and would mean the average band D homeowner pays £193.91 a year for policing.
Ms Mountstevens said: “I am always conscious many residents are struggling with bills and I never take a decision to raise the policing part of the council tax lightly.”
Back in September, Ms Mountstevens warned the Government its policy of cutting resources meant the police had reached a ‘tipping point’.
A rise in extremist and organised crimes have seen demands on the police increase, as resources decline. Similarly, the number of complicated and sensitive crimes such as sexual exploitation, violence against people, domestic abuse, rape and hate crime has doubled to 40,000 in the past seven years.
Last week, the Government said police funding levels will be protected next year.
Ms Mountstevens is ‘pleased’ but said: “The announcement is better than we expected, however we still have some difficult decisions ahead.
“Despite it, we still need to find £11million next year and we will continue to look at all our back office functions, as well as other opportunities for collaboration, in order to achieve this.
“My proposal will be to take an increase of council tax to the police and crime panel and I will be listening to the views of local people as part of this process.
“With this investment, I will continue to ring-fence local neighbourhood policing for 2018/19, as I have since 2016.
“My over-riding priority is the safety of everyone who lives and works in Avon and Somerset and I will fight to do all I can to protect neighbourhood policing to 2020.”
To share views on a precept rise, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01275 816377.