Council tax rise proposed to retain Lincolnshire Police officer numbers

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Residents in Lincoln and the county will be asked to pay 1.97% more for Lincolnshire Police’s segment of council tax in order to maintain frontline officer numbers.

Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones has revealed his budget proposal to be reviewed by the Police and Crime Panel on Monday, February 6.

The recommended council tax rise will equate to a 6p rise for a Band B property (£3.08 per year).

But the PCC’s office will still need to use nearly £4 million from its reserves to protect services.

If the proposed funding from the Government for Lincolnshire next year is confirmed it would put the county third from bottom in terms of grant provided per head of population, Marc Jones has warned.

The Government allocates Lincolnshire just £88 per head of population, compared to £99 for Norfolk, £119 for Nottinghamshire and £132 for Humberside.

The plan sets the PCC’s budget at £118m of which just £46m comes from council tax and £3.8m from reserves.

The increase in precept will allow Lincolnshire Police to maintain its current levels of front line police officers.

Budget proposals also include an increase in spending on new technology and vehicles of £4.2m and a reduction of over a £1m in building schemes.

Survey results

The proposed budget comes after the PCC’s annual survey demonstrated support for additional funding for the police.

In the survey, which received 1757 responses – a 27.4% increase on the previous year, more than 91% (1604) said they supported additional funding the police service.

However the budget papers sent to the panel warn that unless Lincolnshire receives a fairer allocation of central funds in the future services in the county are at threat.

The government has pledged to review the current funding formula later this year but the PCC’s office has said that, based on current funding levels, the county will face a funding gap of nearly £10m from 2018 to 2020.

The Commissioner travelled to the Home Office on Monday, January 30 to meet with the Policing Minister Brandon Lewis to discuss the funding situation face to face.

PCC Marc Jones said: “There’s no doubt that the budget has been a challenge. We receive much less per head of population than almost every other area in England and Wales and I continue to make a strong case to the Government to get our residents a deal that makes Lincolnshire Police sustainable for the future.

“But I am positive about the year ahead. I believe that even with the pressures on our finances we can innovate and provide an even better service to the communities of Lincolnshire.

“I am committed to ensuring our residents get the best possible service for the money we spend and I will do everything possible to ensure that our communities are, and feel, safe.”

The police element of a resident’s council tax bill typically makes up just 14% of the overall amount – with the rest going to Lincolnshire county, district and parish councils.

City of Lincoln councillors have been asked to approve a 1.91% rise in its share of the council tax, and Lincolnshire County Council has recommended a rise of 3.95%.