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27th Jan 21
Northamptonshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold is asking for a five per cent increase in the policing precept, the part of the council tax that goes towards the county’s policing budget, for the next financial year.
The increase – which amounts to £13 a year for a band D household – would ensure that the Force is able to sustain the plans to recruit more officers to Northamptonshire Police, which have seen the Force grow by almost 200 officers in the last four years.
The increase will also enable the recruitment of a further 130 officers in the next two years and give the Force an establishment of 1500 police officers, making it the largest it has ever been and more able to service the needs of a county which historically has been one of the fastest growing in the UK.
The policing budget is made up of grants from the Home Office and the contribution local taxpayers make through the council tax: Around 14% of a household’s council tax goes towards policing, with the rest going to the local authorities.
This year, the Government gave Police and Crime Commissioners the ability to raise the police precept by 5.89% (£15 per year) but after consulting with the public, and discussions with the Chief Constable, Stephen Mold has decided on a slightly lower increase that is pegged at a similar level that Northamptonshire’s local authorities will levy.
More than 2,500 people responded to a consultation on the policing precept, and more than half supported a rise of £13 or more.
A 5% increase (25p a week) will allow the Force to continue to deliver service improvements but considers the financial uncertainty that many people are facing as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “We are facing some of the most extreme challenges that we have ever faced as a country and a county, and I understand the huge impact that this pandemic has had on many households.
“I have to balance the need to keep the public safe and to ensure the police have sufficient money to do their job with the ability of the public to pay.
“We have made important investments that have strengthened policing in Northamptonshire over the last four years to give a better service and keep our community safe. A 5% increase will enable us to tackle the issues that the public have asked us to address and to put more police officers on the streets.”
Since 2017, the budget given by the PFCC to the Chief Constable has grown by over 31% and over this time, Police officer numbers have increased by almost one third, and are on track for 330 more officers.
There have also been investments to provide better tools and technology to support crime fighting, including additional police dogs, improved burglary response and investigation, a significant expansion of the ANPR network and a new fleet of fast response Interceptor vehicles.
A 5% increase would raise an additional £3.15m for policing in the county in the next financial year, taking the total budget to £153.5m.
“I am extremely grateful to the public for their on-going support and confidence in the future of the Force. In return, I am making a commitment that work to keep communities safer will be prioritised, with a greater emphasis on visible policing in neighbourhoods and on tackling the issues that people have told us matter most to them.
“And I will press forward with work to make sure that Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service share support and buildings wherever possible, so that the maximum money is focussed on the frontline.
“I never lose sight of the fact that this is public money and needs to be spent wisely. I have reduced the costs of my office and I will be ensuring the Chief Constable manages the policing budget as effectively as possible. I am extremely grateful to residents for their backing and I can assure them that we will continue to ensure that joint working makes the best use of every penny the taxpayer contributes.”
The Commissioner will set aside £1 million to:
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s policing precept proposals will be considered by the Police, Fire and Crime Panel at a meeting that will be held in public, on Wednesday 3 February.
Note to news editors: 44% of the policing budget comes from local taxpayers, 56% from government grants
ANPR is the automatic number plate recognition system