Increase in police element of Council Tax to go ahead
The amount of Council Tax the public pay for the police service, known as the police precept, will increase for 2018-19 by 7.09% in County Durham and Darlington. This equates to an increase of £8 a year, or 15p a week for a property in Council Tax Band A.
The increase follows a period of engagement across County Durham and Darlington and was supported by the Police and Crime Panel this morning.
In December 2017 the Government announced a change to the cap on the increase which Police and Crime Commissioners can add to the precept. The new cap permits increases of up to £12 per year for a property in Council Tax Band D. In Durham, this equates to a 7.09% increase.
Ron Hogg, Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner presented his decision, along with his rationale for the increase, to the Police and Crime Panel this morning. The Panel supported his decision.
Ron Hogg said: “I have been put in a position where I have to do this because the Government has decided not increase its grant to Police forces for next year. I am committed to maximising the safety of our communities and I do not wish to see the number of Police Officers fall. This increase is the only way I can avoid that. I will continue to lobby Government for a fair funding settlement for future years.”
“We have been to all parts of County Durham and in Darlington to explain the reasons for the increase. Residents have been very understanding of the situation and they have been supportive of the increase in order to protect our police force.
“Durham Constabulary is strongly committed to innovation and efficiency and we continue to challenge every aspect of the business. HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services rank Durham Constabulary as the most efficient force in the country.”
Durham County Councillor Lucy Hovvels MBE, Chair of the Durham Police and Crime Panel, said: “Panel Members from all parties support the Commissioner’s decision. There are extreme financial pressures on our Police force. This decision is a consequence of the Government’s decision to transfer responsibility for funding from Whitehall to Police and Crime Commissioners. I’m pleased that it means that there will be no decrease in Police Officer numbers over the next 12 months.”
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Posted on Thursday 1st February 2018