Are you prepared to pay 12pc more on council tax precept to help fund policing in Norfolk?
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
The Police and Crime Commisioner (PCC) is asking the people of Norfolk how much they are willing to spend on policing as the financial strain on the force continues to grow.
PCC Lorne Green will soon decide whether to freeze or increase the policing element of council tax and will be holding public consultations to help inform his decision.
Currently, the PCC is only allowed to increase the policing council tax by a maximum of 2pc, due to a fixed cap set by central government.
However, the government will announce on December 13 whether they will be lifting the cap and Mr Green would like to know if the public would support a further increase if such a decision is made.
Mr Green said: 'What I am asking is, do you support a freeze, keeping policing council tax at last year's level, or do you support a rise? And, if so, what is the maximum amount you would be prepared to pay?'
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However, while a freeze is a possibility, the Norfolk Constabulary will still have to close the current £2.8m funding gap, which will inevitably result in job losses. By increasing council tax by just under 2pc, the constabulary will not raise additional funds, rather the projected £1.2m would be used to offset expected reductions in central government funding. In this scenario, the constabulary would still need to find a way to save £1.6m.
Consequently, the PCC will be gauging the public consensus regarding additional increases in council tax, which could enable the constabulary to avoid cutting staff and even increase levels of frontline police.
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Mr Green said: 'I, along with other PCCs, have been lobbying central government to look again at police funding and lift the council tax limit above the 2pc maximum. This would allow PCCs more flexibility to set council tax levels in response to funding challenges and local policing needs. To help inform my budget decision if that were to happen, I would like to know what you would be prepared to pay next year for policing in Norfolk.'
A 4.5pc increase would see the constabulary's budget balanced for next year. A 6pc increase would allow for modest increases in policing, while a 12pc increase, the equivalent of an extra 50p per week, would enable significant additional investment in policing.
Have your say on the online survey here.