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21st Dec 20
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold has launched a consultation to ask for views on police and fire services and the level of council tax precept that people will be asked to pay next year.
The reach the survey, use the following link:
What would you pay for police and fire services?
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold has launched a budget consultation to ask people about their priorities for the county’s fire and police services, and how much they would pay towards them.
The PFCC has responsibility for setting the budget for both Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and Northamptonshire Police. The budgets are made up from money raised through the council tax and from central government grants.
Around 18% of the total council tax bill paid by a Northamptonshire household goes towards policing and fire services.
Budget setting for the next financial year is now taking place and the Commissioner is considering the level of council tax precept to set for police and fire.
Both police officer and firefighter numbers in Northamptonshire have grown significantly: there are now 1367 police officers compared to 1170 four years ago, with plans for a further 130 officers in the next two years. This has enabled the number of police officers working in neighbourhoods and rural crime to be increased.
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has recruited 20 firefighters, with a further 12 to be recruited to brand new posts and begun a programme of investment to replace outdated fire appliances and equipment.
This year’s budget is likely to be more challenging, set against the context of the pandemic and its effect on the financial situation and the local and national economy.
Now the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner is asking people to share their priorities and asking their views on the level of the police and fire precept for the coming year.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “Both fire and police services in Northamptonshire have seen significant investment over the last few years, thanks in no small part to the contribution and support of local people through their council tax.
“I know that the pandemic has had a major impact on everybody in the county. It has affected our improvement plans and progress and of course, it could well affect the level of income we receive. That will be hard for Northamptonshire Police and much more difficult for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, that came across to my governance with a very poor financial position.
“We are looking at ways to ensure that we always give value for money and I have already reduced my own costs. I have asked the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer to work more closely together to share services and buildings both to be more effective and more financially efficient.
“This year more than ever, I want to hear from people about their priorities and what they think about the service they receive from police and fire. This will help me to plan and find ways of building on and sustaining the improvements and growth that we have achieved.”
The consultation is at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WCNHXRM and the deadline is 11 January 2021.
All responses will be considered by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in deciding the level of council tax precept. The Commissioner’s recommendation will be considered by the Police, Fire and Crime Panel on 4 February 2021 at a meeting held in public.
COMMISSIONER ASKS HOME OFFICER FOR FUNDING SUPPORT FOR NORTHAMPTONSIRE FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold has asked the Home Office for one off financial support for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service to put it on a stable financial footing.
The government’s financial settlement announced on 17 December and the suggested council tax increase of 1.99% will not give NFRS enough funding to manage the financial impact of the pandemic and continue to grow and improve services.
The Commissioner has written to the Home Office asking for one-off funding from the government. However as this has not been provided, he is asking for flexibility to increase the council tax precept for the fire service by an extra £5 a year (8.07%) and for a one-off contribution from Government funds to build reserves. NFRS has the lowest of any fire service in the country with less than £1 for every thousand residents.
Council taxpayers currently pay a little over £1 a week (£60 a year) towards Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Without this one-off support, the improvements that NFRS has made over the past two years may not be sustainable into the future.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “In an exceptional year, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is in an exceptional position.
“I took on the governance of NFRS so that police and fire could benefit from sharing support and buildings, strengthening them both and doing the right thing for local taxpayers. They transferred with a very challenging financial position, but over the past two years, the fire service has made major improvements to response times and availability and I have been able to invest in more firefighters and new equipment.
“But the pressures of the pandemic have knocked our plans for financial stability off course and while the Chief Fire Officer team have been working hard to manage the situation, we may lose some of the gains we have made without this financial support.
“I will be launching a public survey today (December 21) to ask the people of Northamptonshire what they think of the service they receive from their fire and rescue service and what they would be prepared to pay towards it. I have contacted our MPs to ask for their support and I hope that the Home Office is able to give me one-off funding and local council tax flexibility to bring us more in line with our peers.”
STATEMENT ON THE BUDGET FUNDING SETTLEMENT FOR NORTHAMPTONSHIRE POLICE
Commenting on the police funding settlement, announced by the Policing Minister last week, Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said that he would be looking at the details of the settlement before taking his council tax proposals out to consultation with the public:
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “The settlement is broadly in line with my expectations and I am optimistic that it gives a good basis for our budget planning.
“Over the past four years, thanks to the support that residents have given through the council tax and the Government’s uplift funding, we have made significant investment in policing in Northamptonshire. As a result, we have almost 200 more police officers than we had four years ago, with plans for a further 130 in the next two years. We have also invested in strengthening capacity in specialist areas, in providing officers with the right tools to fight crime and increasing the number of officers working in neighbourhoods and rural crime.
“My priority is to ensure that Northamptonshire Police does not lose the improvements we have made, so I will now be working with the Chief Constable and his team to finalise some budget proposals. Today, I will launch a budget consultation to ask people about their priorities for policing and their views on the level of council tax increase, as the settlement includes the government’s expectation that PCCs will ask for £15 more a year (30p a week).”
Over the last four years, Northamptonshire Police numbers have grown, from 1170 to 1367. There are plans to recruit further officers, taking the Force to 1500, the largest it has ever been.
The settlement proposes a total policing budget of just under £154 million for Northamptonshire Police.