Police and Crime Panel supports proposed rise in policing element of Council Tax

Following today’s consultation with the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Police and Crime Panel has unanimously supported his decision to increase the policing element of the Council Tax by 1.98%.

The Police and Crime Panel consists of 15 Councillors and two independent members, who are required to scrutinise the Commissioner’s proposal and ensure it is right for the people of Dorset. This follows six weeks of direct consultation with residents, online and through a series of face to face roadshows which took place across the county.

Nearly 4,500 residents gave their views with 80% being prepared to pay an additional £3.80 per year to support Dorset Police, amounting to a total of £1.07m. As per the most recent central Government funding settlement, this will only go so far as to offset cuts and will provide Dorset Police with approximately the same budget as last year.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, said; “I would like to thank the 4,485 people who took the time to complete the consultation. Even with the increasing financial demands faced by families in Dorset, four out of five of you voted in favour of a rise in the policing element of Council Tax to support the Force.

“Over the last six weeks I have had the opportunity to hear Dorset residents’ concerns and ideas for the future. I am pleased to say that the issues they identified align with those that this rise will be invested in.

“Protecting adults at risk of harm, dealing with common, non-emergency crimes and embracing new technology to meet the challenges of modern policing require continued development and investment.

“The rise in the policing element of Council Tax will be invested in these three areas, which are increasingly impacting on residents in Dorset.”

Dorset Police Chief Constable, Debbie Simpson, said; “In order to maintain police budgets, Police and Crime Commissioners were asked by the Chancellor to request a small rise in the policing element of the Council Tax. Through continued efficiencies, this will enable us to maintain policing services despite reduced overall funding and protect our ability to respond to new threats.

“I formally requested that the Commissioner raise the precept, so I am pleased that both the Police and Crime Panel and the residents of Dorset have supported the proposal.

“Dorset Police is committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our communities, improving the prevention, reporting and handling of volume, non-emergency crimes and investing in technology to keep our response to emerging threats efficient and effective. These three areas will benefit from the precept rise.

“The Commissioner and I understand the financial pressures on all households. The decision by residents to overwhelmingly support the rise in Council Tax is therefore a reflection of the value they place on policing in their community. The Force will continue to strive to improve, innovate and deliver services at the high standard that our communities deserve.”

The Commissioner and Dorset Police Chief Constable Debbie Simpson have written to the Home Office to express their disappointment with the terms of the 2017/18 settlement. You can read the full letter here.

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