A public consultation has been launched to seek views on the level of next year's council tax increase to pay for police and fire services in Northamptonshire.
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC), Stephen Mold, has recently set a new police, fire and crime plan for the county, following a public consultation that overwhelmingly supported visible and effective response from the two emergency services.
Council tax over the last five years has contributed to increasing the number of officers on the streets.
Next year’s council tax will continue with that as the Government’s financial settlement, published last week, recommends commissioners to increase council tax for police by £10 a year.
The settlement also gave the commissioner the chance to ask for an additional £5 a year increase for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, because it is one of the lowest-funded in the country.
However, according to the commissioner, the £10 increase for police is less than the rate of inflation.
He has also raised concerns about whether the increase would be enough to continue stabilising, improving and making the service more effective, especially as the county has the highest population it has ever had.
Thus, the commissioner is now asking the public how much they would be willing to pay in council tax to see the improvements they have asked for.
Mr Mold said: “The organisations have made good progress.
“We’re on our way to getting 1,500 police officers onto the streets, but the county has the highest population it has ever had.
“So it’s about balancing the things that people are asking for and how much they are willing to pay for them.
“It’s not about something they will lose (if they don’t pay extra), it’s about falling behind or not getting things they want.
“The harsh reality is that people want to see more officers, and people are starting to see a difference with more officers, we have to move towards that £10.
“All of this is about making the services more efficient for the longer term.
“People have made their priorities clear, I now want to know what they think about the precept increase that would allow these priorities to be met.”
Both police and fire services in Northamptonshire do receive Government funding, however there is still a large amount of each service’s annual budget to be made up.
According to the commissioner, the funding covers 55 percent of the budget for police and for fire it is 70 to 75 percent.
The rest of the money comes from council tax in the county.
The commissioner says 18 percent of each household's council tax bill goes to the police and fire service, with 14 percent set aside for police and four percent for fire.
The consultation can be found on the crime commissioner’s website until January 16, 2022.
Responses will be considered by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in deciding the level of council tax precept.
The commissioner’s recommendation will be considered by the Police, Fire and Crime Panel on February 3, 2022 at a meeting held in public.