Council tax rise needed to head off cuts to Norfolk police, says commissioner
PUBLISHED: 15:34 04 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:59 04 February 2020
Archant Norfolk 2016
People in Norfolk will have to pay about 19p a week more in council tax so about £3m extra is available to be spent on the county's police force.
Norfolk police and crime commissioner Lorne Green said without the rise, there would have to be cuts in "key areas".
His proposal for a 3.95pc increase in the policing element of the tax was unanimously backed at a meeting on Tuesday.
Mr Green said he was aware of the financial pressures on Norfolk taxpayers, but he had to balance the burden with keeping people safe.
He told the county's police and crime panel - made up of councillors and independent members - that the responsibility for setting the police budget was "one of the most difficult" parts of the role.
Mr Green said: "It is not a proposal I ever take lightly.
Like all of us, I am sensitive to the financial pressures on the taxpayers of Norfolk. As ever, it is my duty to balance the burden on local taxpayers with the safety of our county.
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"I have listened to the views of the community, the chief constable, key stakeholders and partners in the police, community safety and local criminal justice arenas.
"There are recurring themes throughout our county, including how we tackle anti-social behaviour, improve 101 call waiting times, and the impacts of mental illness and domestic abuse on policing demand."
Mr Green said that without an increase in the precept, the force would need to make more cuts in "key areas of the budget".
He warned even with a 2pc increase, the force would only be "treading water".
He said: "I do understand, however, that no one likes to pay more for less. A 3.95pc increase this year would enable me to provide additional funding of £3m to the constabulary.
"This would not only meet inflation-related cost pressures but also allow us to invest in and improve services in areas such as mental health support in the police control room, additional resources for the 101 service to improve response times and receive calls related to anti-social behaviour, and domestic abuse safeguarding support."
The rise will add 19p a week more to a band D property. Norfolk County Council is planning for a 3.99pc increase, which would add £50 a year to band D bills.