|Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has launched a survey asking council tax payers across Lancashire if they are willing to pay more to support the recruitment of 80 police officers and increase proactive policing in their community. Here’s the link to use to have your say:
The consultation follows the budget announcement last week, where the Government has once again passed the burden of the cost of policing onto council tax payers.
The latest financial settlement for Lancashire sees it increase by £6.8m and whilst the Commissioner welcomes any additional grant, it does not even cover the increase to employer pension contributions for policing, announced in September.
The real world consequences of dealing with this pensions deficit alone, is forecast to cost Lancashire Constabulary around £7.1m per year from 19/20 – the equivalent to over 150 police officers.
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I strongly believe that more funding should come from the Government and I will continue to lobby the Home Secretary and Policing Minister.
“The current funding for policing isn’t sufficient to deal with growing demands on the police and the financial settlement allows me to raise further funds but only through passing this burden onto council tax payers. This isn’t fair and it isn’t sustainable.”
“However, raising funds through council tax contributions is the only option the Government have given me to protect and bolster policing and if I did not consider this, it would mean a cut to our budget. There are over a million calls for service every year to Lancashire Police and investment is needed to keep up with ever increasing demands on policing and to deliver a service the public expect. Police officers and staff are working round the clock to keep people safe but, they are over stretched.”
“The public are being asked if they would be prepared to pay an extra 46 pence per week for a Band D property to invest in policing services in their area. Three quarters of Lancashire residents are in lower bands and so would pay less, and this would raise over £10m for policing in Lancashire.”
Increased revenue raised through council tax would help to deal with the changing nature of crime and provide more local, visible and accessible policing that is more responsive to local issues.
Mr Grunshaw explained, “Across the county residents tell me that they want to see better investment in policing. More detectives are also being recruited by the force following public feedback asking to prioritise investigations around major crimes, child exploitation and domestic abuse but they want more police officers, and they want to see them out on the streets, tackling crime and keeping us safe.
“The reality is the ability to invest in our policing teams and meet the pressures on the service is completely reliant on raising council tax by the highest amount we can. With rising demands, increasing costs through inflation and growing crime we cannot accept a further reduction in our police budget.
“Asking for more money, the public quite rightly expect to get something in return and need to feel the difference which is why if the proposals go ahead, it would be spent on 80 extra police officers. These officers would form task forces in every district in Lancashire to support neighbourhood policing teams to solve problems in communities, focusing on reducing and preventing crime, anti-social behaviour, public order and supporting public events. This would include three officers dedicated to tackling rural crime in each of the county’s policing divisions.
“Specialist target teams would be increased to strengthen the force’s ability to tackle cross border crime and criminality, focusing on burglary and robbery 24/7 to ensure police are making an impact around the issues that really matter to people and cause the biggest misery and concern. These extra officers would also work alongside drones funded by proceeds of crime to locate and track offenders and support searches for missing people.”
Residents can have their say on the proposals by completing this survey https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=154521301713 and the Commissioner’s office will be conducting a telephone survey with a sample of residents from every part of the county in the coming weeks.