Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove will propose raising the portion of council tax used to pay for policing next week.
After freezing the precept last year, the Commissioner is proposing an increase of 1.99 per cent for 2014/15, meaning the precept on a typical Band D property would rise by around 6p per week for the year. However, information is still awaited from the government on potential restrictions to the increase, before a final recommendation can be made.
The decision follows a public consultation exercise in which 1,277 residents were surveyed across the Humberside force area. Respondents were informed that if the precept were increased by this amount, the reductions in police officers and PCSO would be minimised and police services could be modernised. Around 75 per cent of people surveyed said they were in favour of an increase.
Commenting on his proposal, Matthew Grove, said: “Despite the financial challenges we currently face, the Chief Constable and I are committed to making the area as safe as possible for our residents, and reducing the number of victims of crime. Last year I froze the precept to give me time to look at all the alternatives available to me to reduce costs before asking residents to dig deeper into their pockets.
“The force has already made savings. Since 2010 through robust budget management, but continued reduction in government funding means we need to find more between now and 2019. It is no good saying this cannot be done and I accept that policing must make its contribution to restoring public finances.
“I asked the Chief Constable to redesign a sustainable policing service for the area, and her plans are well advanced. We will make sure that public and partners are informed as these plans develop. Given that around 85 per cent of our budget is spent on people, there will be inevitable reductions in staff, and the redesign will take this into account.
“I have consulted with local people face to face at my Street Surgeries and commissioned an independent survey, the overwhelming view is that a small increase in the precept would be acceptable to lessen reductions in police officers and to invest in new technology to keep them out in our communities where the public want to see them.”
He said it was vital to work with partner organisations such as local authorities to reduce crime and keep communities safe.
He added: “I will seek to ensure that this will deliver key aspects of my Police and Crime Plan. In addition to the precept, we have financial reserves which are being used to transform the service and minimise risk to the public. “I have also significantly reduced the cost of my own office. I saved money in 2012/13 against the previous Police Authority budget, and in the forthcoming year I aim to make further reductions by reducing my support staff and selling my present office building.
“Humberside Police belongs to local people, it is not my police force or the Chief Constable, it is yours. The precept is the taxpayers investment in that service, and with your help I will continue to hold the force to account on your behalf, and work with our local partners to ensure you receive the police service you are paying for.”