Public spared a hike in council tax to reflect economic pressures

 

Posted on 23rd February 2012

Householders in Derbyshire will not have to pay any more for policing next year after the county’s Police Authority agreed to freeze its share of the council tax.

Members of Derbyshire Police Authority met today (Thursday, February 23) to discuss this year’s budget and decided to keep the policing element of the council tax bill at last year’s levels as a result of the financial hardship facing many residents. The decision means the Authority will now qualify for a one-off Government grant of 3% which is worth an extra £1.6m.

Householders in a Band D property will pay £163.74 for the third year in a row. Those living in a Band A property will pay less than £2.10 per week.

Despite the decision to freeze council tax levels the force intends to start recruiting additional Police Community Support Offices and police staff from as early as April. This will help protect neighbourhood policing in the future and ensure more of the public’s concerns and issues are addressed. It will also provide a strong foundation for the new Police and Crime Commissioner, due to take over the Police Authority in November.

Chief Constable Mick Creedon had asked members to support an increase in the precept of up to 3.99%. This, he said, would have guaranteed the recruitment of additional police officers, PCSOs and police staff and further protected Derbyshire’s capability and resilience to meet future threats. However, members felt unable to place any further financial burden on Derbyshire’s hardworking families in light of current economic pressures and agreed to accept the grant offered by the Government.

Cllr Philip Hickson, chairman of Derbyshire Police Authority, said: “We are just as keen to protect Derbyshire’s ability to fight crime and respond to the public as the Chief Constable and realise the importance of expanding our frontline in the future. However, we feel that it isn’t fair to allow the public to bare the brunt of this responsibility and consider ourselves in a healthy enough position to launch a fresh recruitment drive with or without a rise in the precept.

“Thanks to careful planning and prudent spending, we find ourselves in a comparatively stronger position than many forces nationally and we have considerable reserves available to be invested in recruitment. This will allow us to protect the loss of any further posts as well as strengthen our presence in the community and improve the way we respond to the public.

“Both the County Council and City Council are opting to freeze council tax this year and it’s important that we convey the same message to the public that we fully recognise the challenges they face and intend to do everything we can to help ease their difficulties.”

The Police Authority has already secured £15m of the £19m it needs to plug the funding gap that resulted from a 20% reduction in its Government grant until 2015. This year’s budget will help resource those risks and priorities identified by the public during consultation.

 

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