PCC launches precept consultation
Yesterday, 19 December 2017, the Policing Minister announced the proposed level of core funding that will be made available to policing in 2018/19, leaving forces nationally in a difficult position.
With police budgets having to absorb unprecedented demand, growing inflation levels and the cost of Government awarding a police pay rise without providing any additional funding, the proposed flat cash settlement means that PCCs face a central Government funding reduction in real terms.
PCC Martyn Underhill said: “I am disappointed that the Government did not provide any additional finances for Dorset in next year’s police grant settlement. Like forces nationally, I have worked closely with Dorset Police to deliver substantial efficiency savings of £37.3m since 2010/11.
“As we look ahead, Dorset Police expects to have to make further substantial savings, while the genuine rise in crime being seen nationally shows no signs of abating. We have already had to make a number of incredibly tough decisions and this settlement does us all a disservice.”
To compensate for this, the Government has given PCCs additional flexibility to be able to raise their local policing precept by £12 a year. This would generate around £3.4m of additional funding in Dorset.
The Commissioner continued: “It cannot be right that the Government keeps asking my constituents, the taxpayers of Dorset, to pay more for policing every year. My dilemma is that if I do not consider a precept rise, Dorset Police will struggle to keep up with demand and to deliver an acceptable service.
“The Government has forced the hand of all PCCs, but the police funding formula places rural forces like Dorset at a distinct disadvantage. Many forces receive around three quarters of their overall funding from central Government while Dorset receives roughly half.
“The reality is, any revenue raised by a rise in the council tax precept will not facilitate optional or additional work, but will help to ensure that some planned initiatives including police officer recruitment can at least continue for another year.
“Like other PCCs, I therefore have no choice but to ask whether residents are prepared to plug the hole left by the core funding settlement in order to protect frontline policing. While I welcome the ability to provide more funding for an overstretched police service, I am taking this matter to public consultation with a heavy heart.”
Throughout this year’s consultation, the Commissioner will be asking whether residents are prepared to pay an additional £1 per month to support policing in Dorset. Visit www.dorsetpoliceprecept.com to have your say.