Dorset residents support rise in policing element of Council Tax

A six week consultation has shown that Dorset residents are overwhelmingly supportive of the proposal to raise the policing element of Council Tax in the county.

Dorset residents support rise in policing element of Council Tax

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) engaged with residents online, as well as at a series of face to face roadshows across Dorset, to find out whether they would be prepared to pay an extra £3.80 per year to support police in the county.

Last year, the Commissioner was pleased to announce a response rate thought to be the highest in the country for a Council Tax consultation. This year, even more responses were collected, with almost 4,500 residents giving their views.

Members of the public were informed that the rise would be invested in three key areas. These were protecting adults at risk of harm, improving the response to common, non-emergency types of crime and embracing new technology to continue to meet the challenges of modern policing.

Of the respondents, 80% said they would be prepared to pay an additional £3.80 per year to enable Dorset Police to invest in these areas.

Dorset PCC, Martyn Underhill, said: "Dorset Police has experienced real terms cuts of £19m in central Government funding over the last five years. It will continue to experience these cuts at a rate of £1m per year for the next three years, making it more difficult for the Force to develop innovative ways to address emerging issues and growing demand."

To protect police budgets, the Government requested that PCCs raise the policing element of Council Tax in their areas. The £3.80 increase the Commissioner is proposing will create revenue of £1.07m, offsetting the yearly budget decrease imposed by these central Government cuts.

The Commissioner continues: "The challenges which the Force has identified mirror those that I know, from consultation, the public have concerns about. I have been formally asked by the Chief Constable to raise the precept to ensure our approach to these challenges is at the highest possible standard. The nature of policing means that threats are constantly changing and emerging, so we need continued investment to tackle these threats head on."

For the next stage of the process, the PCC will present his proposal to raise the precept to the Police and Crime Panel. The Panel consists of 15 councillors and two independent members, who will scrutinise the proposal and ensure the correct decision is made for Dorset residents.

Following this discussion, the Commissioner will make his final decision. If a rise is implemented, it will take effect from 1 April 2017.

You can find the full details of the results of the consultation here.

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