Would you pay 8p more per week to help fund Norfolk’s police service?Just six months into his term, Lorne Green is preparing to make one of the biggest decisions for which Police and Crime Commissioners are responsible – setting the policing budget.
Before he takes his budget proposals to the Norfolk Police and Crime Panel early next year, he wants to hear what the county’s tax payers think.
Launching the annual police budget consultation at a public policing accountability meeting in Great Yarmouth last night, the Commissioner invited people to share their views on whether or not they would support a rise in the policing element of the council tax they pay.
Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Chief Constable Simon Bailey about his plans for policing Norfolk during 2017/18 and beyond, and to ask questions about the crime and policing issues of concern to them.
“As Police and Crime Commissioner, it’s my job to set the policing budget for Norfolk”, PCC Lorne Green said, “and, with it, how much Norfolk people contribute through council tax.
“Less than 60% of our policing budget is funded by the Government; the rest comes from tax payers. With such a significant contribution coming from their pocket, I’m sure all Norfolk residents will have an opinion on how that funding is used.”
The information pack provided to attendees at the meeting in Great Yarmouth reports that Norfolk’s policing service is facing an estimated budget gap of £3.5 million in 2017/18. The maximum council tax increase the Commissioner can consider is around 2% - equating to an extra eight pence per week or £4.23 a year, for a household in a Band D property. Each 1% council tax increase generates £0.6 million, so a 2% increase would reduce the budget gap to £2.3 million.
“The consultation for my Police and Crime Plan found that, while people understand the financial pressures on our Constabulary, they want to see improvements in their police service. They want the police to be more visible in their local area and to engage better with communities. They also want more efficient investigation of crime and for the most vulnerable in our society to be protected. All of this poses additional challenges in the context of austerity and the current financial outlook.
“I applaud our police force for having made £30 million of savings in the last six years. I think we can still do more, and will be pushing our police force to continue to find more efficient ways of working and identify further savings. But the fact remains that efficiency savings will only go so far. The Chief Constable has stated categorically that, without a council tax increase, he will be left with no choice but to make further cuts to service, which will very likely affect neighbourhood policing.
“I know how important neighbourhood policing is to the people of Norfolk so I’m reaching out to them for their views to help me make a decision.”
Now closed - You can take the budget consultation survey here.