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Policing Precept 2021/22

Plans have been approved to increase the amount of money Dorset residents pay for their policing service.

 

The plans, approved by the county’s police and crime panel – which looks into the work done by me and my office – were to increase the level of precept paid by Dorset’s taxpayers by 6.2%.

This means when you get your council tax bill for April, you’ll be paying an extra £15 a year, or £1.25 a month, if you live in a band D property. More info on the county's tax bands, and how the money will be spent, can be found at the bottom of this page.

And it follows a survey I held with residents, in which two thirds of those who responded said they would be willing to pay the increased amount.

I want to thank each of the 4,053 people who responded to share their thoughts – including those who said they didn’t want to pay extra as well as those who did.

The Force is still facing considerable challengesThe ‘uplift’ programme, announced just over a year ago in order to recruit 20,000 new officers across the country, was certainly a welcome move for policing after a decade of devastating cuts, but it has brought costs associated with recruiting and training those officers.

Meanwhile, there are still inflationary and other pressures affecting the budgets of Dorset Police and other forces across the country.

Effects of the pandemic 

Not long after last year’s precept was announced, something happened which nobody had seen coming.

The ongoing pandemic has had a huge impact on the police and other agencies, changing the way officers have had to do things, putting them at the front line of the fight against COVID-19 by giving them responsibility for enforcing new and ever changing regulations.

Even as we continue to vaccinate huge numbers of our population, coronavirus will be with us for a long time. We don’t know exactly what its legacy will be, but I believe it will affect policing in three ways.

First, there is the potential of renewed austerity, hardship caused by furlough, and the risk of a double dip recession – economic problems which historically lead to issues such as increased anti social behaviour and acquisitive crime, which will have to be planned for.

Secondly, we may see that when society is finally lifted from the lockdown restrictions, there will be a huge increase in reporting crimes that have been taking place behind closed doors.

Finally, there may be a huge impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing, potentially meaning increases in addiction and suicide.  Despite the huge leaps made in mental health provision in this county, this will have a serious impact on policing.

Recruiting new officers

The pandemic has of course already had many immediate effects on policing, including on the uplift programme itself. The Government’s initial plan was to recruit 6,000 new officers across the country in year one – which comes to an end on March 31 – then by another 8,000 in year two and 6,000 in the final year. As a result of the pandemic, the government decided to reduce the year two target, and catch up with an increase in year three.

This may have made sense nationally, but it would have created problems here in Dorset where the Force had endured many years of low recruitment, and where we therefore needed to quickly rebuild our ability to attract, select and train these new officers.

For this reason, the Chief Constable and I took the decision to stick with the year two plans, and to recruit over and above the number of 50 new officers we had been designated.

This will allow us to train these new officers more cheaply as well as to frontload recruitment so they’re out on the streets sooner rather than later – something which will of course benefit Dorset’s residents. The Force is therefore now predicting that at least 64 officers will be recruited by the end of March.

Shouldn't Government be paying?

Many people were understandably a bit confused that I was asking for more money when the Government had been very clear they were going to fund the new officers. We need to remember, when talking about the uplift programme, that the funding provided by Government is only for the initial cost of recruiting the new officers – it does not cover the ongoing additional costs involved with employing them or of training them.

All of this brings me to a long-standing question, raised by members of the public during my survey this year as well as during surveys I’ve held in previous years – shouldn’t the Government be paying for this?

During last week’s meeting, the panel requested that my office write to Kit Malthouse, the policing minister, to object to the fact that the financial burden for policing has fallen to local taxpayers. The letter will be published here under additional documents to the budget precept.

This is an issue I have become increasingly frustrated about during my time as Police and Crime Commissioner, and which still troubles me as I pass my final budget before stepping down.

We desperately need a better system in this country for funding the police – one that does not rely on PCCs going cap in hand to ask for more money from the public, as I can guarantee my successor will have to do next year, and the year after that. We also need a system which does not penalise smaller forces like our own, which remains one of the lowest funded in the country and which has to make up almost half of its budget from local taxation.

And, as the pandemic has shown, forces need the flexibility to adapt but also must be able to make long term plans to meet new demands – something which the current funding model isn’t designed to do.

I repeat my message to the Government that this needs to change. 

Martyn Underhill signature

More information about the precept 2021/22

To download the Precept infographic please click here 

Spending Review and Council Tax Information

 

 

 

 

Where the money is spent

 

 

 

 

2020/2021
£000's

 

2021/2022
£000's

2,212

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner

2,269

120,176

Employees

125,767

5,200

Premises

5,174

8,219

PFI Unitary Charges

10,838

2,394

Transport

2,395

13,025

Supplies and Services

13,504

5,448

Specialist Police Support Services

6,144

2,429

Capital Financing Costs

3,096

132

Contribution to Reserves

(300)

159,233

Gross Expenditure

168,887

(4,443)

Income Generated by Dorset Police

(4,591)

(5,238)

PFI Specific Grant (Credits)

(5,238)

(3,888)

Specific Government Grants

(4,519)

(4,049)

Other Grants, Reimbursements and Contributions

(6,184)

141,615

Budget Requirement

148,355

 

 

 

71,293

Police Grant

75,288

70,322

Balance To be met by Council Tax payers

73,067

141,615

Total Funding

148,355

 

 

 

 

 

 

How the proportion of costs paid for by Council Tax has changed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

£000's

Met by Council Tax payers in 2020/2021

70,322

 

 

 

Savings, reductions and re-investment (net)

(683)

Changes in main and specific Government grants

(4,626)

Pay and price inflation

3,944

Cost of Additional Police Officer recruitment

2,203

Capital Financing

667

Use of reserves and balances

(432)

Service developments and improvements

1,672

 

 

 

To be met by Council Tax payers in 2021/2022

73,067

 

 

 

 

 

 

Council Tax bands

 

 

 

 

2020/2021
£'s

 

2021/2022
£'s

 

Property Type

 

160.39

Band A

170.39

187.12

Band B

198.78

213.85

Band C

227.18

240.58

Band D

255.58

294.04

Band E

312.38

347.50

Band F

369.17

400.97

Band G

425.97

481.16

Band H

511.16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020/21 FTE

 

2021/2022
FTE

1,250

Police Officers

1,318

1,170

Police staff, including Police Community Support Officers

1,223

264

Special Constables / Volunteers

298

 

 

 

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