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Police precept rise to put more officers on our streets

4th February 2020

Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, has today (Tuesday, 4, February) confirmed a small rise of 1.99% to Northumbria’s precept, after it was agreed by the Northumbria Police and Crime Panel.

The policing precept is the amount you contribute to local policing through your council tax bill. In a survey asking for views on how to fund local policing, the majority of people who took part said they would be happy to support additional investment in their police force.

The precept increase of 1.99% is equal to 22 pence more a month for a Band D property. It will 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 and Crime 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, although reluctantly at the tax payer’s expense.

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 assumed that each Police 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 wasn’t an easy decision to make but I’m pleased our consultation has shown that it’s one that residents are in favour of.

“The recent 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.”

The Chair of the Police and Crime Panel, Cllr Angela Douglas, said: “It’s clear from the consultation that the Police and Crime Commissioner has the support of local residents to raise the precept by 1.99%.

“The Panel recognises the need to ensure our police force is fit for purpose and we are supporting the Commissioner to keep a high performing police force delivering for our communities”.

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