A public survey has been launched to ask local residents how much they are prepared to contribute towards policing for the force area, through their council tax in the upcoming year.
Police and Crime Commissioners have a responsibility for setting both their force budget and the amount of council tax that goes towards policing for their area, called the policing precept.
Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, Joy Allen, has called for residents to give their views on the amount they would be willing to pay for improvements and the continuation of the policing service, as part of their council tax. This will help her inform her decisions around the budget and the amount of council tax people pay towards policing.
At the end of March 2023, despite recruiting an additional 226 police officers, Durham will still have 154 fewer officers than it did in 2010. This compares to North Yorkshire who will have an additional 85 officers and Surrey who will have an additional 251 officers more than they did in 2010. This is because they can raise more of their income from council tax precept than Durham.
Commissioner Allen said “We know how difficult it is for everyone to manage their finances at this uncertain time. However, I am also aware of how important it is that the public receive the policing service that they deserve and that is necessary to ensure we act on the priorities that we were told were important to residents for the Police and Crime Plan.
“Cost of living increases have put a pressure on the running of our police force, just the same as they have our residents’ livelihoods. This means that in order to prevent cuts across the force we would require a slight increase in available funds to even maintain the service that we currently have.
“The Government’s funding settlement assumes that PCCs in England and Wales will raise the council tax for policing by up to £10 per year for a band D property. In County Durham and Darlington this is around 19p per week but as the majority of properties in the Force area are in bands A and B the cost would be less than this for the majority of residents.
“I am committed to maximising the value of the public purse through the best use of our resources. My plan to put more police officers back on our streets is well established with the continued rollout of the government’s Operation Uplift programme which will see our frontline grow by a total of 226 officers by the end of this year. A small rise in the police precept will support these plans.
“We need to hear from residents to understand what they feel is reasonable and what they would be willing to provide to ensure that our communities are supported and remain safe thanks to our police force.”
The amount that a police force receives through the precept differs depending on the numbers of houses in each council tax band across that area. Due to the majority of homes across County Durham and Darlington falling within council tax bands A and B, the area receives a much smaller funding opportunity compared to other police forces across the country, which have greater numbers of higher tax banded properties.
You can give your views via the survey at https://online1.snapsurveys.com/hn9ey0 or email your questions to General.EnquiriesPCC@durham-pcc.gov.uk
If you are unable to complete the survey online, you can collect one of our surveys from the libraries below from Wednesday 7t November.
The survey opens today and will close at 4pm on the 13th January 2023.
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