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10 January 2014, 09:10
People in Hampshire are being asked what they think about paying more council tax for the police to help the force deal with government cuts.
Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes is asking members of the public to give their views on the policing element of the council tax. The Commissioner is proposing to raise the policing precept by 3% in order to partially offset the cuts in Government funding for 2014/15.
In real terms, this will mean asking the average Band D household to pay an additional £4.54 a year, or 9 pence a week, raising the total bill to £155.79 per year. It generates £2.9m per annum that will ensure that the constabulary can deliver the savings required by the 2010 comprehensive spending review.
Additional cuts to those announced in 2010 mean that the constabulary will receive £41m less in the coming financial year compared to four years ago. Further cuts in the region of £25m are expected for 2015-17, to which the constabulary is responding with an extensive re-organisation programme.
Click here for more information and to complete the survey.
The Commissioner said:
“These are very, very difficult times for policing in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It would be wrong of me not to tell the public the truth about the impact of Government cuts.
“Our police service has been praised by Government as a well performing and well run service, yet Ministers are again cutting the money for policing in our communities – this time by £25m, which equates to approximately 555 police officers.
“It is getting more difficult to keep up the level of neighbourhood policing people want and, quite frankly, should expect. There will come a time when reduced policing in our communities will reach dangerous levels. We are not there yet, but my message to the Home Secretary, MPs and the Prime Minister is, you are risking public safety and offering the upper hand to criminals if you continue with your policy of undermining the good policing that is going on across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
“I believe that we must maintain a safe level of neighbourhood policing, including PCSOs on our streets, and this is why I am left with no option but to propose a precept increase. But I want to hear the public's view on this. Our short online survey is an easy and simple way to let me know whether you agree with this proposal or not".
The survey will close on 22 January to ensure the views of the public can be considered by the Police and Crime Panel, who will be debating the proposal on 24 January.
The £25m cut that is expected to be imposed on policing through the 2015-17 Government Spending Review is on top of the £55m that was imposed in the 2010 Spending Review, which was calculated by the Home Office assuming an annual police precept increase of 3.4%. Even with a precept increase of 3%, Hampshire Constabulary still has the 6th lowest cost per head of population and remains in the lowest quartile for council tax.
Impact of precept increase of 3% on each council tax band:
Band A: This equates to an additional £3.03 a year, or 6 pence a week, for the average Band A household, raising the total bill to £103.86 per year.
Band B: This equates to an additional £4 a year, or 8 pence a week, for the average Band B household, raising the total bill to £121.17 per year.
Band C: This equates to an additional £4.04 a year, or 8 pence a week, for the average Band C household, raising the total bill to £138.48 per year.
Band D: This equates to an additional £4.54 a year, or 9 pence a week, for the average Band D household, raising the total bill to £155.79 per year.
Band E: This equates to an additional £5.55 a year, or 11 pence a week, for the average Band E household, raising the total bill to £190.41 per year.
Band F: This equates to an additional £6.56 a year, or 13 pence a week, for the average Band F household, raising the total bill to £218.47 per year.
Band G: This equates to an additional £7.57 a year, or 15 pence a week, for the average Band G household, raising the total bill to £252.08 per year.
Band H: This equates to an additional £9.08 a year, or 17 pence a week, for the average Band H household, raising the total bill to £311.58 per year.