Dorset PCC Announces Precept Freeze

After receiving unanimous support from the Police and Crime Panel, PCC Martyn Underhill freezes precept.

Dorset PCC Announces Precept Freeze

Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill has announced a freeze in this year’s council tax precept for policing.

It follows the Dorset Police and Crime Panel hearing in Dorchester earlier today where the panel unanimously voted in favour of supporting the PCC’s precept proposal and budget. The meeting was streamed via a live webcast.

The PCC has a statutory obligation to set the police budget and precept. Taking the freeze for one year will allow officer numbers to be maintained. Despite financial challenges ahead, Dorset Police is on track to achieving the savings required by 2015/16.

A seven week public consultation has been running on the 2015/2016 precept proposals, which closed on Friday 30 January. We received 2635 responses. Of the respondents, 29% have indicated that they support a freeze. 15% would support a 1% increase although this can be achieved by accepting the Freeze Grant at no cost to the council tax payer. 24% have indicated that an increase of around 2% is about right and a further 27% would be happy to support a higher increase. These results were presented to the Police and Crime Panel earlier today.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: "I am delighted to have received the unanimous support of the Police and Crime Panel for my precept proposal. My decision to freeze the precept has not been made lightly. I have sought to balance the needs of our police service with the demands on families across Dorset. The government have offered me £574,000 if I decide to freeze the police element of the council tax for this financial year. My preference, naturally, is that wherever possible, I would prefer the government to fund local policing rather than residents of Dorset having to bridge the funding gap in these difficult financial times.

“I am pleased to announce that I have been appointed to the Government police funding formula panel where I will be fighting hard to secure fair funding for Dorset to move us off the bottom of the national funding league tables. The option of freezing this year’s precept seeks to limit the impact on council tax payers.” 

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