Police to increase their portion of council tax

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People who pay council tax in Northamptonshire will be asked to pay an average of 7p a week more from April.

Police and crime commissioner Adam Simmonds has announced a proposed rise of 1.99 per cent in the amount of council tax charged for policing in the county.

The sum will be added on to local authority council tax bills from April 1.

He said: “We are faced with a government requirement to reduce police spending here by some £20m over the next four years.

“And government rules effectively put a cap of two per cent on rises in the amount of council tax to pay for policing.

“So from April I am planning a rise which will put Northamptonshire Police in a stronger position to meet future savings needs as well as bringing several improvements.

“The extra money raised will enable the chief constable to have fewer managers and instead more constables on the streets and in our countryside. It will enable us to set up a new service for victims of crime and witnesses, something we know is desperately needed. And it will enable us to continue the drive to cut violent crime, already hugely reduced.”

The average household pays £3.72 per week towards policing as part of their council tax.

In a survey of 2,000 homes, about one in five council tax-paying respondents said that they would not want to pay more towards policing.

Just under three quarters said they would be happy to pay the extra 7p a week that the commissioner’s proposed increase would mean.

Mr Simmonds added: “People also told us they want to see more efficiency and less waste. When asked where Northamptonshire Police could reduce waste or make savings, the most commonly selected options were ‘reducing bureaucracy and administration’ and ‘moving police officers from back office to frontline’, selected by over half of respondents.

More than a third selected ‘working more closely with other organisations’ and about a quarter selected ‘using more technology’, ‘reducing management costs including jobs’ and ‘increasing the use of volunteers”.

Mr Simmonds added: “So I want to see all this happen. Most of all I want over the next year to see more constables on our streets and in our villages, adding to the 900 special constables we are recruiting this year. I want to maintain the current numbers of police community support officers. And I want to see victims and witnesses getting the services and support they deserve from the police and criminal justice system.

“Also I want the already successful drive to cut violent crime continue. This budget balances my ambition to improve policing in Northamptonshire with the need for financial prudence and will I believe deliver all those things.”

Additionally I am launching the biggest ever investment in working with local councils on crime and anti-social behaviour. My new £450,000 Local Solutions Fund will commission specific work for specific results.

Finally, I will be developing large-scale campaigns for 2014 to influence attitudes and behaviours. This will include campaigns to reduce violence and alcohol harm, improve the environment and help stimulate growth. We will work closely with local bodies and other local agencies to deliver these campaigns to the right scale and impact to make a significant difference for people who live and work in Northamptonshire.”