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Lincolnshire Police consider 1.99% council tax precept rise

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick has proposed a council tax increase of 1.99% for the force.

The government said that an increase of 2% or higher in council tax precepts would require a costly referendum.

The Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel will consider Mr Hardwick’s precept proposal when they meet on February 6, 2014.

The force has to deal with a general government police funding cut of 4.8% this year – equivalent to a loss of £3.1 million for county policing.

In January, the commissioner highlighted that Lincolnshire Police will have to make an additional £1 million in savings. He said that an increase in the policing share of council tax was “inevitable”.

Alan Hardwick said: “I am proposing an increase of 1.99%.  This would equate to an extra 7 pence per week for a Band D property.

“Even with this increase, our total budget will be almost £1.7 million less in 2014/15 than it was in 2013/14.

“This further underlines our ability in Lincolnshire to build on our success as one of the country’s leanest and efficient forces and continue to find more efficient ways of serving the public through transformation.

“In January I highlighted that national initiatives are being prioritised over local policing needs. The Government has top-sliced the police grant nationally to the tune of £80 million to prop-up Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the failing Independent Police Complaints Commission.

“Around £50 million, which would have been spent on local policing across the country – a so called ‘innovation fund’ – is being used to cajole inefficient and wasteful forces into finding ways to save money and be more effective.

“In Lincolnshire, we have always taken the view that is part of the day job and done it without financial assistance. We would expect others to do the same and I have made the Home Secretary aware of my views. These are not only my views, but those of the people of Lincolnshire who took part in my recent consultation.

“The government’s position is disappointing and means that I will be proposing a precept increase to the Police and Crime Panel.

“This will ensure that the Chief Constable and I are able to deliver our priorities of continuing to reduce crime, making sure police and services are there when needed and ensuring our communities feel they receive a fair deal from Lincolnshire Police. 

“I am also reaffirming my commitment to maintain 1,100 police officers and 149 PCSOs,” PCC Hardwick added.

The proposal comes after the City of Lincoln Council’s Executive committee agreed last week to consult on proposals for a 1.8% council tax increase.

A public consultation on this will run from January 28 until March 3, with full council set to make a decision on March 4.