A council tax rise which will see people across Norfolk pay about a penny more a day to cover the costs of policing has been agreed.

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But Norfolk’s first police and crime commissioner’s proposed £1.965pc council tax hike in the police’s share of council tax bills had to survive an attempted veto.

Stephen Bett, who was elected to the new role in November, said the increase could pay for up to 10 more front-line police staff, but would also go some way to heading off a potential £10m to £20m funding gap which could open up within four years.

Mr Bett told the Norfolk Police and Crime Panel - a panel made up of councillors and independent members which is part of the checks and balances for his new role - that he could have accepted a government offer of a two year council tax reduction scheme grant, which would provide about £598,000 in 2013/14 and 2014/15.

But he says increasing the police element of the council tax will give more stability in the long run when it comes to paying for recurring staff wages.

He said: “I believe that is the soundest financial plan - not only for my first term of office, but longer term. My proposal stems the inevitable slide in reduced officers and frontline personnel in 2013/14.

“We had a plan to reduce officer numbers to 1.520 by the end of this year, but by careful management of the budget have held that at 1,530.

“My proposal continues that level for 13/14 and some more. In fact, I plan to give the chief constable discretion to retain up to 10 more essential frontline personnel to meet the challenges in the vulnerable people’s directorate where we face unprecedented pressure.”

And he also warned that the force could face major pressures in the year’s ahead, with no indication from the government as to levels of grant in the future.

He said: “We face a significant challenge in 2017/18. The budget support reserve will be exhausted and - depending on our planning assumptions and more information from the government on future funding prospects we may face a deficit of between £10m and £20m.”

But councillor Brian Long, representing West Norfolk Council proposed a veto to the increase. He said he would rather see the commissioner take the government money for freezing the council tax.

He said: “It sits very hard with me that we would continue to take more and more from the public purse. I propose we veto it on the basis that the increase is too high.”

However, the vote to veto it was lost and the panel then agreed, by eight votes to four to agree the increase.

The increase will mean a Band D household will pay £200.79 a year towards policing. Council tax bills are also made up of a portion for the county council, other local councils and parish councils.

17 comments

  • There has been a welcome reduction in crime,especially homocide for which Stephen Bett should get no credit.This reduction in homocides is seen as unusual by criminologists but it seems the answer is that all of us who campaigned to take lead out of the armosphere in the 70s have been proven right.The reduction in crime in primarily down to a reduction of lead in petrol and elsewhere.The population were more like to commit crime because they were lead-toxic.George Monbiot take a bow.

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    Peter Watson

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • Indeed Mr.Isaliar, a right bounder, 'democracy dodger' Eric Pickles calls his type. In for a plenty of pounds wage, in for more of the same. Bett you next year the same 1.965% show will reoccur.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • It was always a safebett this was going to happen. Let the shortfall come from the allocated amount to NCC, and force them to stop wasting so much of our money on things like the incinerator, Coltishall, employee payoffs and nplaw.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • This the thin blue line, the wedge in the door and by the sound of it Mr. Bett and his unelected deputy will want to make this a regular annual occurrence. I agree with cllr. Long, if Mr. bett would have dared to ask for an increase of above 2% he would have had to ask us all in a referendum, hence his tacit take circumnavigating these rules. Eric Pickles has rebuked councils as 'democracy dodgers' and 'cheaters' for using this percentage game and he is right on that account, as mr. bett would not get an increase past the taxpayers.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • Daisy roots. It was always thus that police officers used to pair up on the night shift, particularly in the rural areas. However I can`t see the sense of dual patrols all the time. Its just a waste of resources. One is sitting idle while the other does the paperwork etc. I totally agree with you about PCSOs. Absolute waste of time and money.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • Why is everyone so surprised! - it's as certain as NCFC failing to win the premiership

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • Police Cars wailing away,with no noticeable presence of a Bobby on the beat,and they need more money for more of the same

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    Albert Cooper

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • What a cheeky chappy this SafeBett fellow is. Was it in his manifesto, I think not. What's that, he didn't realise things were as dire financially until after he became commissario, is that because he had only been chairman of the defunct police authority for umpteen years before. Lucky they got rid of most of his authority mateys and their fat allowances or he would need even more of your cash.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • .....Bett said the increase could pay for up to 10 more front-line police staff, but would also go some way to heading off a potential £10m to £20m funding gap.....I hope the PCP noticed the slippery use of language here. Is he going to use the money on 10 (extra??) front-line policemen? Is he going to use it to reduce the mythical 'funding gap'? Did the panel nail him on one or the other or anything else? I doubt it.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • If Mr Bett had done something about stopping police officers and PCSOs patrolling in pairs and officers turning up at very minor incidents to see how their mates were getting on, when the attendance of a single officer would have been sufficient, then this rise would not have been necessary. Don`t even get me started on roads being closed for hours because of some very minor shunt. Attended by officers from here there and everywhere.

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    BG

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • I say BG my good fellow, he is putting up council tax, so he still has his old NPA budget, plus the extra council tax, plus the money saved from the £1 million you mentioned when it was cheerio cronies. He's a crafty one, isn't he.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • Betts should make all the uniform lower ranks take a literacy and competency test on a regular basis to see whether they are really capable of doing the paper work they moan about at an efficient speed. beats me why there are not the equivalent of Ofsted inspections releasing damning details of the inadequacies of each and every police station and worker in the way that schools and teachers have to face inspections, the results of which are open to everyone. I don't know about police officers working alone-daytime maybe, but some would be patrolling huge areas of rural Norfolk at night, miles from any other police teams, they at least deserve to work in pairs. Maybe Betts needs to look at how our force is run before asking for more money.I don't think any of us would miss PCSOs for instance.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • Indeed Mr.Isaliar, a right bounder, 'democracy dodger' Eric Pickles calls his type. In for a plenty of pounds wage, in for more of the same. Bett you next year the same 1.965% show will reoccur.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • “We face a significant challenge in 201718. The budget support reserve will be exhausted and - depending on our planning assumptions and more information from the government on future funding prospects we may face a deficit of between £10m and £20m.”.....No Mr Bett, there would be no 'funding gap' if you make the necessarily cuts now. Looks like you are going to jump ship in 201718 and pass the 'debt' onto the next PCC commissioner or should I say Norfolk tax payers.

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    Rhombus

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • @ Mr Cameron Isalia - Things don`t seem to have been so dire in the days of the old Norfolk Police Authority which had a budget well over £1million. I don`t recall Mr Bett every saying he would make cuts to the NPA budget to pay for extra police officers. Little wonder the govt got rid of police authorities.

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    BG

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • Oh well. More money for hounding and persecuting the motorist then ?.

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    "V"

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • Indeed Mr.Isaliar, a right bounder, 'democracy dodger' Eric Pickles calls his type. In for a plenty of pounds wage, in for more of the same. Bett you next year the same 1.965% show will reoccur.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

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