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Police & Crime Commissioner asks for £2 a month

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill is reluctantly asking members of the public to pay the equivalent of an additional £2 per month to help fund policing.

Last week, rather than providing a balanced funding settlement for policing, the government has instead placed the responsibility for the majority of this year’s settlement with Police and Crime Commissioners. The Government have enabled Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to increase their precept up to a maximum of *£24 per year.

Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “A few weeks ago, the Chief Constable and I shared our concern that, without significant additional investment, Dorset Police would be unable to provide the current levels of service to our communities.

“As a result of last week’s funding settlement, we now believe that there is the flexibility – providing that we continue to relentlessly pursue efficiencies – to ensure the Force will no longer be required to make the cuts that we had feared.

“I remain immensely frustrated that the financial burden has, once again, been passed to local taxpayers and it is important that members of the public are under no illusion: this is a short-term fix that barely covers the need. The Home Secretary’s announcement does not address the considerable, and unfunded, police pension issue, new training regime and inflationary and pay pressures, all of which have been thrusted upon national policing. Nor does it reverse the eight years of austerity that have left Dorset Police with the lowest number of officers since 1981.

“Nevertheless, the flexibility that an extra £2 per month on the precept provides would leave Dorset Police in a much better position than was feared just a few months ago. Further, the Chief Constable is confident that this would allow him to make improvements in a number of areas of emerging demand.

"Throughout 2019/20 he is seeking further efficiency savings so that Dorset Police can reinvest in areas such as rural crime, marine crime and tackling county lines drug networks. The Force is also committed to the introduction of volunteer police cadets, improvements to youth justice and a Bobby Van scheme, to help protect vulnerable members of the community.

“The Chief Constable and I remain grateful for the public’s support and I will be consulting widely to ensure that I understand the views of Dorset residents.”

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