People “overwhelmingly” prepared to pay more for policing

Funding SUS-151222-170929001
Funding SUS-151222-170929001

Warwickshire Police’s council tax precept could rise by £3.72 after “overwhelming backing” for an increase to support the force through impending cuts.

During a public consultation almost 83 percent of people supported plans for a 1.99 percent increase in the sum collected for policing within the annual household tax bill.

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball

The police precept makes up around 12 percent of council tax charge and goes towards the police budget each year. The rise would equate to just over a penny per day for the average Band D Warwickshire home.

It would help generate around £700,000 in just one year, and fill a funding gap of £2.8m by 2020.

The public consultation, led by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Ball asked: “Are you willing to spend an extra 31p per month in order to maintain frontline policing levels”.

A total of 1,026 people responded in December with 839 people in favour of the proposed increase - numbers described by the commissioner’s office as “overwhelming backing” for a rise.

I don’t make proposals for tax increases, even relatively modest ones, lightly, so it is good to hear that there is public support

Ron Ball

The precept for the force in 2014/15 was £184.56 for an average Band D property. If the rise is approved, this would increase by around £3.72.

Mr Ball said of the “modest” increase: “I have always been keen to take account of public feedback on issues such as this.

“I don’t make proposals for tax increases, even relatively modest ones, lightly, so it is good to hear that there is public support for what I am seeking to achieve.

“With the confirmation from the Home Office that the overall police budget would decreased, this is in my view a sensible course of action.

“While the effect in the taxpayer’s individual pockets is modest - a rise of around a penny a day - the impact for Warwickshire Police’s budget is much more significant.

“I inherited a sound financial platform from the former Police Authority when I became commissioner, which prepared the force well for the funding cuts that were then ahead.

“With increased investment being needed there will still be pressure on force budgets and continued innovative thinking will be needed. I am determined, therefore, to leave my successor with a similarly strong platform to build on for the future.”

If the current police precept rate is frozen, Warwickshire Police is expected to lose around £700,000 next year and in each subsequent year, resulting in a financial gap of around £2.8 million by 2020.

The Home Office has confirmed that the overall police budget is to decrease by 1.3 percent over the next four years unless PCCs increase their precepts by a maximum of 2 percent.

Of the respondents to the survey, 1,013 lived within Warwickshire and 174 voted against the proposed rise.

The rise would not affect the council’s portion of the tax which is yet to be announced.

The commissioner will propose the increase to the Police and Crime Panel on February 3 for a decision to be made.