Help to protect local
policing against government cuts
MERSEYSIDE'S Police Commissioner is
reluctantly asking local people if they would be willing to pay a little extra
to protect local policing against on going government cuts to the Police budget.
After 6 years of austerity, the Government promised in December 2015 to protect
Police budgets. However, before Christmas the Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, urged
the Government to stop the misleading the public after it was confirmed that the
grant allocated to Merseyside Police will once again be cut for 2017 top 2018.
If the proposed 1.4% cut is imposed it will leave the Force facing a grant
reduction of ₤3.3m, next Tax Year, in comparison to the 2016 to 2017 Tax Year.
To help fill this funding black hole, the Government has assumed that local
people can pay more towards policing through their Council Tax. In fact, as part
of the Home Office's official financial settlement, they have already included
in their calculations a 2% increase to the policing element of the Council Tax
bill paid by local people.
This is the maximum increase allowed to the Police precept, but even if local
people do approve this increase, it will raise less than half the money lost by
the grant reduction; just ₤1.4m. If this increase is not made, the Police's
budget will effectively be cut even further.
Before making a decision on whether to make the increase expected by the
Government, Jane wants to hear the views of local people. The Commissioner is
holding a region wide consultation asking people if they would be willing to
contribute a little extra; 4p a week for the majority of Merseyside's Taxpayers; to make up for the Government shortfall and help her to limit the impact of
Jane said:- "The Government have not bothered to ask people if they are
willing to contribute more for policing. There was no consultation. Instead when
ministers have done their calculations, they have simply assumed that Taxpayers
can pay extra. I am extremely reluctant to ask local people to once again put
their hands in their pockets to help supplement the funding for policing
Merseyside. However, yet again my hands are tied. I have been left with no
choice; if I don't increase the amount of council Tax collected towards
policing, more Police officer posts will go. We are now facing an additional
₤3.3m black hole. I can offset that by ₤1.4m by asking local people if they are
once again happy to contribute a little extra, but it still does not make up the
cut we are facing. The Government has broken its promise to protect the Police.
They are cutting our funding by the back door and then expect local people to
make up the difference, despite the fact Taxpayers are already stretched and
being expected to contribute more and more."
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 ₤108.53 to ₤110.65.
Jane said:- "Merseyside Police has already had its budget cut by more than
₤84m over the last 6 years. This has led to the loss of more than 1,600
officers, PCSO's 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 forced to ask people on Merseyside if they would be willing to
contribute an extra 4p a week to help protect vital frontline Police services.
I know finances are tight for a lot of people on Merseyside at the moment so I
don't ask this question lightly. Before I make any final decision I want to hear
the views of local people."
People are invited to have their say through a short
on Wednesday, 1
February 2017. The Commissioner will also be holding a series of road shows, 1 in
each Local Authority area, to ask people for their views in person.