A month or so back the Government announced that they would allow Police panels across the country to increase the part of your Council Tax bill that helps pay for the Police – the Police precept.
Alison Hernandez has asked Devon & Cornwall the Police Panel to use the new power to ‘max out’ and increase the precept as much is legally possible.
This would add on average £12 to a council tax bill. This equates to 6.8% increase in the police precept and will bring in an additional £7.2m for policing across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in 2018/19.
The Police & Crime commissioner also wants to see Bodmin’s police station upgraded to become a HQ for Cornwall’s Police – this means the building would receive significant upgrade to bring it in line with that designation.
There will also be support for more towns to join the successful CCTV collaboration run out of Tolvaddon and Cornwall’s experiment with Tri-Service Officers is to be copied across the patch. Hernandez also wants to see most officers wearing body worn video most of the time. Cams are only worn routinely by the armed response unit at present.
“This is my second budget since taking office and it builds on the same principles that underpinned my first, that it is progressive, modernising and sustainable,” said Ms Hernandez.
“I will again also be looking to maximise the resources available to the chief constable to deliver our Police and Crime Plan and accelerate workforce transformation”
Hernandez says if the budget is approved it will allow police officer numbers to increase for the second year in a row – and beyond.
“I hear regularly from MPs, elected councillors, local residents and businesses that more frontline policing would be welcomed and I have put local policing at the heart of our Police and Crime Plan.
In meetings with Government ministers I have consistently made the case that central Government cuts to funding have been detrimental to policing.
In 2017 I committed to increasing police officer numbers by 100 over the term of my office (by 2020) to take the total number back up to 3,000. However, the Government has recently offered a funding opportunity that could both speed up that recruitment and further increase the number of officers.
In Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, 63% of the police’s total budget comes from central Government, with the remainder raised through council tax contributions, known as the policing precept. As your Police and Crime Commissioner it is my decision, in consultation with the Police and Crime Panel, whether to change the policing precept.
Previously, legislation has limited this increase to 1.99% but for 2018/19 the Government has announced that PCCs can now increase the precept by up to £12 per year (or 23 pence per week) for a Band D property.
This is the only opportunity we have to increase investment . I know that policing is an essential part of maintaining safe, resilient and connected communities. However, continued austerity, the increasing demands of policing and the changing nature of crime means that we need to do more to transform our workforce.
So I want to give serious consideration to increasing the precept by £12 per year (Band D), in 2018/19. This would provide Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Police with around £7m additional income which will help to ensure we can protect frontline policing. This would allow Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer to move forward more quickly with his plans to transform the workforce.
The key developments are:
Increasing the number of police officers to 3,015 by 2020 – (due to retirement and other predicted losses the Force expects to recruit 575 new officers to the frontline to reach and maintain this figure);
Early completion of previously proposed recruitment;
20 joint funded blue light officers, primarily focussed on delivering neighbourhood functions in rural areas;
The development of a modern county police headquarters for Cornwall at Bodmin – with similar operational facilities to those currently being developed in Exeter;
Significant increase in technology including the roll out of body worn video and improvements to handling of both emergency and non-emergency calls to the Force.
I remain committed to achieving previously identified savings and the chief constable will deliver £9.6m of savings by 2021/22 through a combination of efficiency, productivity and transformation. Devon and Cornwall Police has a strong track record of achieving savings with £54.4m saved since 2009. Significant future savings will be delivered through regional collaboration and the strategic alliance with Dorset”.
The budget is considered at the next Police and Crime Panel meeting on 2 February.