Police commissioner Alan Charles: rise in council tax will protect frontline staff
DERBYSHIRE'S police commissioner is asking for a rise in council tax which he says will protect 20 frontline officers.
The 1.96% rise in the police share of council tax would bring in an extra £1 million – enough to save the jobs of 20 officers of different ranks.
The proposed increase would mean an additional £3.21 per year for a band D householder, bringing the total bill for policing to £166.95 compared to the current £163.74.
Mr Charles said: "I sincerely regret being in a position where I have to increase the amount of council tax residents must pay for policing just to maintain the status quo in service and continue keeping them safe.
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"Our current financial situation is a direct result of the Government's cut in funding for Derbyshire which amounts to some 20% of our total grant over the past few years, as well as the ongoing unfairness which sees Derbyshire receiving only a fraction of its entitlement because of the funding formula being applied.
"This means that other forces receive more funds than they are due, while we receive less."
Alan Charles wants the money to maintain resources and police officer posts which he says are crucial to protecting the public.
His first annual budget and the planned increase in precept will now be considered by members of the Police and Crime Panel next week before being finalised.
The panel, made up of councillors from each district in Derbyshire and two independent members, oversees the commissioner's work.
The provisional budget for policing in 2013-14 has been set at £170.6 million, which Mr Charles says incorporates a £2 million shortfall in Government funding.
He said: "Derbyshire continues to suffer financially as a result of the reductions to the grant that should be received under the current funding formula.
"The reduction in grant to Derbyshire amounts to £2.1 million in 2013-14, which is the equivalent to £7.25 for every band D property."
In all, police funding in the county has lost out on some £30 million in the past seven years, despite already being one of the lowest spending forces in the country.
Previously, Derbyshire has benefited from £1.6 million from the Government in return for freezing council tax, but Mr Charles says this cash can no longer sustain the current service levels and he has had to make "tough decisions to protect the public's future policing needs".
He said: "If the precept is not increased it would be impossible to keep the current level of police manpower in the future and this could compromise the level of protection Derbyshire police offers its communities."