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PCC asks for £1.25 a month to provide enhanced police service

Dorset’s Police & Crime Commissioner is asking members of the public to pay an extra £1.25 per month to enable the Force to provide an enhanced service and recruit new officers.

The proposed increase to the precept, the element of a monthly council tax bill that funds policing, will enable Dorset Police to deliver a balanced budget and pay for additional costs, some of which have been created as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

If approved, the figure would see those living in a Band D property paying an additional £15 a year for policing in the county.

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Police & Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “We have just been through a year like no other, and despite the very positive news about vaccines, the pandemic is far from over.

“Considering that we are in the midst of an ongoing crisis, and the Government are faced with arguably one of the biggest challenges since the Second World War, I have to be realistic about the state of the country’s finances. The recent Government Spending Review prioritised COVID-19 and so PCCs have been asked to raise their precept levels to help police forces balance their budgets.

“In the circumstances, I welcome the funding package given to Dorset Police which provides some flexibility and will enable the Force to continue recruiting more officers over the next year.

“An additional £1.25 a month will allow the Force to meet these unavoidable costs, provide an enhanced service in the face of a global health emergency and allow the further recruitment of additional officers.”

Dorset Police is now predicted to recruit an additional 64 new officers by the end of March – over the target for this financial year – as part of the Government’s three-year ‘uplift’ programme and plans to recruit further new officers in 2021/22.

Police forces have faced considerable budgetary pressures in recent years with the need to manage more demand, real-terms cuts to funding and a number of nationally imposed costs.

Martyn Underhill said: “I am fully aware that many people across Dorset are worried about their livelihoods at the moment, and it’s with a heavy heart that I have to go out once again and ask cash strapped families to contribute more.

“I remain immensely frustrated that the financial burden for policing is being passed to local taxpayers once again. I have consistently argued that the funding settlement is unfair to smaller forces like ours, which has to make up almost half of its budget through local taxation.

“Although I have already said I will not be standing in next year’s PCC elections, I will use my remaining months in office to continue demanding a fairer settlement for Dorset Police, which remains one of the lowest funded forces in the country.“

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