Have your say on paying for policing in Warwickshire

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball

Time is running out for the public to have their say on a consultation on the amount of council tax that is used to pay for policing.

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball is asking for people’s views on his proposal to increase the police precept for 2016/17.

This is the portion of council tax bills that goes towards the budget for Warwickshire Police, supplementing the funding the force receives from central government.

The Commissioner is proposing that the police precept is raised by 1.99 percent next year - equivalent to 31p per month or £3.75 per year on average for a Band D property – less than the price of a coffee and a cake at a leading high street coffee shop.

The consultation will be used by the Commissioner as he decides on his final recommendation to the Police and Crime Panel next month. Views can be submitted online, by email or by post – but there is now just a week for anyone who has not had their say to make their views known. The consultation will close at 12 noon on Monday, 18th January.

Speaking about the consultation, Mr Ball said: “The response to the consultation has been fantastic so far, with very nearly 1,000 responses to date from a wide cross-section of the public. All points of views are welcome, however, and if you haven’t yet given your feedback, there’s still time to do so – but don’t delay as there is less than a week to go before the consultation closes.

“I am determined not to leave my successor in May in a financial bind and, while I don’t make proposals to increase taxes lightly, I believe this is necessary to protect the safety and security of Warwickshire in the years ahead, helping provide a platform to maintain and possibly even enhance frontline policing.”

In November, the Government announced plans in its Comprehensive Spending Review to keep policing budgets at current levels during the life of this Parliament. As has now been made clear by the Home Secretary in a letter to PCCs, police funding will remain at the same level only if the police precept – the small portion of each council tax bill that pays for policing – is raised by the maximum permitted amount of 1.99% each year by every PCC. Without this, Government resource funding to policing will actually be reduced by 1.3% in real terms over four years.

If the current police precept rate was frozen, Warwickshire Police would lose around £0.709 million next year and £0.709 million in each subsequent year, resulting in a financial gap of around £2.836 million by 2020. This would have a significant impact on frontline policing and could reverse the recent efforts which have seen the proportion of officers on the frontline increase to 95 percent, which is above the national average.

As a consequence, the Commissioner is asking the simple question:

“Are you willing to spend an extra 31p per month for an average Band D property in order to maintain frontline policing levels?”

Give your feedback by:

· Visiting www.warwickshire-pcc.gov.uk/preceptsurvey

· Or emailing opcc@warwickshire.gov.uk and stating ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question, plus any other supporting comments

· Or write to Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, 3 Northgate Street, Warwick CV34 4SP, again indicating whether you wish to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question and including any other supporting comments.

The consultation closes at midday on Monday, January 18 2016.