PCC approves Council Tax Rise following positive feedback from residents and unanimous agreement from Panel
The PCC has today consulted with the Police and Crime Panel who have unanimously supported his decision to raise the policing element of the Council Tax by 1.97%.
The PCC has a statutory duty to consult with both residents in Dorset and the Police and Crime Panel, a group of 15 Councillors and two Independent members who scrutinise the Commissioner’s decisions on behalf of the people of Dorset.
The meeting held at County Hall this morning followed a three-week consultation, the responses to which showed the public overwhelming support raising the precept to provide extra funding to police the County. Over 4,000 residents shared their views, a response rate which is thought to be the highest in the Country, with four out of five people voting in favour of a rise of 1.99%, which will bring in an extra £1,031,374 a year to Dorset Police.
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill said; “This year is quite unusual for two reasons. Firstly, the Chancellor announced that to retain police funding on a level footing, he expected PCC’s to raise the precept, and the Chief Constable formally requested an increase in funding to meet emerging threats. Neither of these things have happened before. When I went out to consultation, I had an open mind on the issue, but the public spoke overwhelmingly to support the Chief Constables request, so I am pleased the Panel supported this position.
“Dorset is a high performing force with positive independent reviews by HMIC. This additional revenue will support the Force in continuing this strong position whilst dealing with the emerging issues such as cybercrime and crimes against vulnerable people.
“Criminals are always adopting new techniques and it is vital that policing is properly resourced to meet these demands. However, it is also important we balance the needs of the police service with the financial demands faced by families in Dorset. A rise of £3.74 per year for a Band D household achieves that. I would like to thank the 4,135 people who took part in my consultation.”
Dorset Police Chief Constable, Debbie Simpson, said; “Police forces have faced significant budget cuts over the last five years, with some of the changes required to meet this challenge still being put into place. The Chancellor made it clear that he expected Police & Crime Commissioners to request a small rise in their element of the council tax precept to avoid any further savings needing to be made. Operationally, I had explained to the PCC that we needed this funding to respond to new threats, so I am pleased that the Police & Crime Panel have supported his proposal.
“This small rise will help ensure that Dorset Police can effectively deal with complex and important areas of policing over the next five years, such as cyber-crime and child sexual exploitation. It will also ensure we can retain our accessibility to the public, and improve how people can contact us, as these are always priority areas when we ask the public for their views.
“I was heartened that despite the everyday financial pressures on households, the overwhelming majority of local people supported paying a few pounds a year more for their local policing. This gives a real boost to officers and staff that their hard work is valued. I can assure you we will use the rise wisely to help keep you safe.”