Norfolk policing budget set after unanimous Panel support
Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Lorne Green’s proposals for the 2021/22 Norfolk policing budget have today received the unanimous endorsement of the county’s Police and Crime Panel.
The PCC took his proposals, which include an increase of 5.68% to the policing element of council tax (29p per week based on a Band D property, 22p at Band B), to a virtual meeting of the Panel this morning.
PCCs are responsible for setting the policing budget for their force area and, with it, how much local taxpayers contribute to funding their police service through their council tax.
Speaking to the Panel – which is made up of councillors and independent members – the PCC described that responsibility as “one of the most difficult tasks” of his role, adding: “This year it is a task made all the more challenging in the face of the unprecedented times in which we live.”
During the live-streamed meeting, he told Panel members: “Another of my mandated duties is to assure an effective and efficient police force, to provide public safety. And to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ money.
“The Norfolk community can be proud that our police force is one of only very few rated nationally as outstanding for efficiency. And we are among the safest counties in the country.
“All this in face of growing demands on our police force, and the enormous complexity of much crime prevention and investigation today.
He added: “I committed myself in 2016 to do all in my power to assure our county had a 21st century police force equipped to combat crime in the 21st century.
“And so, taking full account of the financial challenges that Norfolk taxpayers face, particularly now, and the demands on government, together with the challenges for policing, I instructed the Chief Constable to present to me a plan to maintain the level of policing services that residents need and, where possible to enhance service in areas of particular demand or threat such as domestic abuse or cybercrime.”
Based on the information provided by the Chief Constable, the PCC launched a four-week public consultation on 21 December 2020 to seek residents’ views on a 5.68% increase in order to maintain current levels of policing service and tackle the new challenges that the police are facing. On launching the consultation, the PCC urged participants to support the proposal saying “We must not lose the gains that have been made to policing in our county over recent years.”
The increase proposal also pledged further investment in areas such as:
- dealing with the most dangerous domestic abusers across the county
- increasing visibility through additional proactive neighbourhood police officers
- tackling the growing volume of offences with a digital footprint, including fraud
- building capacity to respond to the number of 101 calls coming into the police control room.
987 people took part in the 2021/22 budget consultation – which was run online due to Covid restrictions. 355 respondents ‘strongly agreed’ to the increase, with a further 186 saying they ‘agreed’ with the proposal – together representing almost 55% of those who participated in the consultation. 39.51% voted against an increase, and 5.67% neither agreed nor disagreed.
Presenting the budget proposal, alongside the revenue budget and capital programme for 2021/22 and medium-term financial plan to 2024/25, the PCC thanked Panel members for their “outstanding understanding and support…to make sure we have a police force that is properly resourced to keep our county safe.”
The PCC’s public consultation ran from 21 December 2020 to 22 January 2021.
Full details of this meeting of the Norfolk Police and Crime Panel, including a video of the meeting, are available on the Norfolk County Council website.