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Northumbria residents show support for additional police investment

29th January 2020

Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness is proposing a small precept rise after residents said they would be happy to support additional investment in their police force.

In a survey asking for views on how to fund local policing, the majority of people taking part said they would support a rise in the police precept of at least 1.99%. The policing precept is the amount you contribute to local policing through your council tax bill.

Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness is now proposing to introduce a 1.99% increase, equal to 22 pence more a month for a Band D property.

The precept increase would generate just over £1m extra per year for the police, and comes alongside a better than expected police funding settlement which will see the police commissioner investing more in frontline policing.

Ahead of its latest budget settlement Northumbria Police had seen its funding reduced by the Government every year since 2011, despite demand on policing increasing by a third in the last decade.

The force lost more than 1,100 officers as a result, a situation Kim McGuinness said she wants to reverse while at the same time ensuring households do not bear the brunt of any funding increase.

Kim McGuinness said: “The Government has finally handed police forces additional funds but at the same time ministers told us that we should increase police precepts by up to £10 a household.

“There is always a balance to be struck between investing in the police and acknowledging the financial pressures facing residents, but the £10 a year hike seemed too great a rise for our area.

“Instead, I think a 22 pence a month increase is fairer for households while ensuring the force is well-staffed and able to respond to emerging crime trends.”

When calculating the overall settlement for policing the Government has assumed that each Policer and Crime Commissioner would raise the precept by the maximum amount of £10.00 for a Band D property.  This Government-expected precept rise would have meant households in Northumbria experiencing a 7.44% increase in the precept for 2020/21.

Ms McGuinness added: “Local residents know I firmly believe that it should be the Government and the Government alone that pays to deliver policing – not the local tax payer. It’s not an easy decision to make but I’m pleased our consultation has shown that it’s one that residents are in favour of.

“Last week’s boost to national funding is long overdue but there’s no quick win for turning around the impact of a decade of cuts. Policing has more complex and challenging demands than ever before and responding to these well comes with a higher price tag.”

Public consultation on the precept took place throughout January with online and telephone surveys.

The proposed 1.99% precept rise will be discussed at the February 4th Police and Crime Panel.