Police to raise their share of council tax

Lincolnshire Police Authority announced a 3.96% rise in their share of council tax from April, an extra £7.11 per year, or 14 pence per week for band D households.

Lincolnshire County Council confirmed this week that there will be no increase in its share of the council tax, worth almost £27 a year in savings per band D household.

The City of Lincoln Council is recommending a freeze in its share of council tax too, due to be decided on March 6 at a Full Council meeting.

Police Authority Chairman Barry Young said: “More than 85% of all properties in the county will be asked to pay between 9 pence and 14 pence a week extra to ensure the level of policing that makes Lincolnshire one of the safest places in which to live.

“The Authority had a stark choice: either raise the level of our precept or lose more police officers,” Young explained.

“We believe we have made the right decision. Basically, we are asking Lincolnshire’s council taxpayers to make an investment of a few more pence a week in return for a force that by April will have 97% of its officers on the front line.

“We were told by the government to cut £20 million from our budget by 2014. Without an increase in the policing element of the council tax, a budget reduction of that size would inevitably mean a reduction in the standard of policing.

“We are not willing to jeopardise the effectiveness of what is already the leanest, most cost-effective Force in the country.”

To meet its savings target, Lincolnshire Police Authority signed an outsourcing contract with G4S this week worth £200 million over 10 years, that would see around two-thirds — or 540 employees — of staff at Lincolnshire Police transferred to the private sector.

As part of the deal, G4S will also be permitted to design and build its own police station in Nettleham (subject to planning), with both cells and office space, named the Bridewell custody suite.

Tax freeze would have been quick fix

Police Authority Chairman Barry Young said: “We debated accepting a one-off government grant equal to a 3% increase in return for freezing the precept.

“Taking the offer would have made an already precarious financial position far worse. It would have left the force and the new Police and Crime Commissioner, who will be elected to replace the Authority in November, with an ever-increasing funding shortfall in coming years, leading to the loss of more police officers and staff.

“We could not accept what would be, at best, a temporary financial fix and at worst a threat to public safety in Lincolnshire.

“The Authority still faces significant financial challenges but we believe we have provided a solid foundation to secure safety and value for money policing for all the communities we serve’.”

Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Richard Crompton said: “Having worked with the Authority for the past seven and a half years, I can guarantee that we have the most effective working relationship of any Force and Authority in the country.

“Today’s decision was difficult but the unanimous decision indicated that the Authority is convinced that this modest increase is necessary to secure effective policing in Lincolnshire’.”

Source: Lincolnshire Police