PCC launches precept consultation

Yesterday, 19 December 2017, the Policing Minister announced the proposed level of core funding that will be made available to policing in 2018/19, leaving forces nationally in a difficult position.

With police budgets having to absorb unprecedented demand, growing inflation levels and the cost of Government awarding a police pay rise without providing any additional funding, the proposed flat cash settlement means that PCCs face a central Government funding reduction in real terms.

PCC Martyn Underhill said: “I am disappointed that the Government did not provide any additional finances for Dorset in next year’s police grant settlement. Like forces nationally, I have worked closely with Dorset Police to deliver substantial efficiency savings of £37.3m since 2010/11.

“As we look ahead, Dorset Police expects to have to make further substantial savings, while the genuine rise in crime being seen nationally shows no signs of abating. We have already had to make a number of incredibly tough decisions and this settlement does us all a disservice.”

To compensate for this, the Government has given PCCs additional flexibility to be able to raise their local policing precept by £12 a year. This would generate around £3.4m of additional funding in Dorset.

The Commissioner continued: “It cannot be right that the Government keeps asking my constituents, the taxpayers of Dorset, to pay more for policing every year. My dilemma is that if I do not consider a precept rise, Dorset Police will struggle to keep up with demand and to deliver an acceptable service.

“The Government has forced the hand of all PCCs, but the police funding formula places rural forces like Dorset at a distinct disadvantage. Many forces receive around three quarters of their overall funding from central Government while Dorset receives roughly half.

“The reality is, any revenue raised by a rise in the council tax precept will not facilitate optional or additional work, but will help to ensure that some planned initiatives including police officer recruitment can at least continue for another year.

“Like other PCCs, I therefore have no choice but to ask whether residents are prepared to plug the hole left by the core funding settlement in order to protect frontline policing. While I welcome the ability to provide more funding for an overstretched police service, I am taking this matter to public consultation with a heavy heart.”

Throughout this year’s consultation, the Commissioner will be asking whether residents are prepared to pay an additional £1 per month to support policing in Dorset. Visit www.dorsetpoliceprecept.com to have your say. 

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Comments (4)

  1. Roger Marsh Dec 21, 2017 at 06:28 PM

    Martyn, Unfortunately the clever Conservative Government has put the ball back in your court. I see no alternative. We in Dorset always seem to come of worse - it's the same as the situation with the County Council concerning lack of future funding by Central Government through the Revenue Support Grant.

  2. Paul Dalton Dec 21, 2017 at 06:34 PM

    I fully support an additional £1 per month precept, if central Government are unable or unwilling to fund the policing needs of the community there appears little room for manoeuvre, without lowering service levels.
    I believe the public would be supportive of a strand of the additional argument as it relates to police salaries, I have no idea how long they have stagnated other than its a long time.
    Policing is often a reflection of the community it serves, the people of Dorset will need to provide greater financial support to maintain those service levels.

  3. G Hunt Dec 21, 2017 at 06:48 PM

    I would like to see HMG providing sufficient funding to actually improve the level of service that we in Dorset receive. Our Police do an amazing job with limited resources - time for further funding is long overdue!

  4. Patricia Cull Dec 22, 2017 at 08:40 AM

    If we have to pay, then we have to pay but we have to ask ourselves where will this end. We are a rich country and with the constant threat of terrorism we cannot let the police services be so underfunded, the government really need to rethink this.

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