Commissioner asks people
for their views on Police funding
MERSEYSIDE'S Police Commissioner is
asking people if they would be willing to pay a little extra to protect
local Policing. After 6 years of austerity, the Government announced in
December that it would not cut the Police budget any further. However, in
his calculations the Chancellor actually included a 0.6% cut to Merseyside
Police's grant that he assumed would be made up by local people paying more
towards Policing through their Council Tax.
In a letter later sent to Police Commissioners, it was confirmed that they
would be expected to increase the Police precept part of the local Council
Tax in order to maintain the current levels of funding for their Police
This means that if Merseyside's Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy chooses not
to increase the Police precept by 1.95% as anticipated by the Government,
the Police's budget will effectively be cut by 0.6%; the equivalent of
£1.35m. This cut puts at risk about 26 Police officer posts.
Now Jane is asking local people whether they would be willing to contribute
an extra 4p a week on their annual Council Tax bill to make up for the
Government shortfall and make sure she is able to balance the budget.
The proposed increase expected by the Government works out as about £2 a
year extra for a Band A household; the lowest Council Tax category and the
amount paid by the majority of Tax Payers on Merseyside. This would increase
the Police element of Tax Payers' bills from £106.45 to £108.53.
Jane said:- "While the Government's dramatic U-turn on cuts of up to
40% on our Police service came as a huge relief last year, the Chancellor
was only able to say that he was protecting the Police budget by assuming
that local Tax Payers would pay more.
The Chancellor did not consult local people, he just put together the
Police's budget on the expectation that the residents of Merseyside would
make up the difference. This has effectively tied my hands; if I don't
increase the amount of Council Tax collected towards Policing, the Force
will lose out. Merseyside Police has already had its budget cut by more than
£77m over the last 6 years. This has led to the loss of more than 1,600
and staff. This is all in a context of rising crime and major budget cuts to
our community safety partners. We cannot afford to lose any more.
I am therefore asking people if they would be willing to contribute an extra
4p a week to help balance the books against this cut by the government and
protect vital frontline Police services."
In previous years the Government has made grants available to those Police
Commissioners who did not increase their precept, but this now been scrapped
leaving Jane with no choice but to increase the precept if she is to set a
By increasing the precept by 1.95%, the Commissioner can raise enough money
to cover the Government's cut and protect local officer jobs.
People are invited to have their say through an
online survey at
by 1 February 2016. The Commissioner will also be holding a series of road shows,
one in each Local Authority area with two in Liverpool, to ask people for
The Commissioner added:- "I know that everyone is feeling the pinch at
the moment and I don't make this proposal lightly, but unfortunately the
Government is forcing me to ask people for a little more if Merseyside
Police is to maintain the same high level of service the public have come to expect. Looking ahead, we are also facing increases in national insurance, pay and
pensions, all of which make it even more important to keep the budget
Before I make any final decision I want to hear the views of local people."