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PCC asks for £1.25 a month to deliver ‘prudent’ budget

Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill is asking members of the public to pay the equivalent of an extra £1.25 per month to enable the Force to recruit 50 new officers.

The proposed increase to the precept, the element of a monthly council tax bill that funds policing, will also allow for inflation and will enable Dorset Police to deliver a balanced budget in the face of additional costs.

The figure – based on a Band D property – remains subject to funding announcements from central government, delayed as a result of the General Election.

Police & Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “Dorset Police’s annual funding settlement will be announced later then we would expect this year because of the continued disruption in national politics.

“This means myself and the Chief Constable don’t yet know how much central funding will be provided, and PCCs - who have a legal duty to set a precept every year – have not been told what the limit will be.

“Although this situation is far from ideal, it is essential that I take a prudent approach and make sure the Force is able to deliver a balanced budget.

 “A key part of my role is to understand the views of Dorset’s communities, so rather than rush through this important piece of engagement at a later date, I am basing this year’s survey on what the Force currently requires to make ends meet.

“While of course I welcome recent announcements of extra police officers, I need to make sure the Force can pay for them in the long term and that has also been taken into consideration.”

Police forces have faced considerable budgetary pressures in recent year; with the need to tackle more demand on the service, real-terms cuts to funding and a number of cost increases imposed on UK policing.

The Commissioner continued: “Dorset Police is faced with the additional costs of nationally agreed salary increases and pension liabilities, as well as new training and recruitment requirements, all of which means that simply providing the current service will cost millions more than it did this year.

“In order that the Force can not only maintain that service, but also enhance it with new officers, additional funding is required and I fear this will not come from central government when the settlements are announced.

“I know many families in Dorset are struggling, and I remain immensely frustrated that the financial burden for policing appears to be getting passed to local taxpayers once again. I will continue to demand a fairer settlement for Dorset Police, which remains one of the lowest funded forces in the country.

“Meanwhile, I will work with the Chief Constable to ensure the Force continues to relentlessly pursue efficiency savings as it has done over the past nine years.

“The Chief Constable and I know that communities across Dorset support their police force and we remain incredibly grateful for this.”

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