January 27, 2023 6.00 pm This story is over 15 months old

£15 more tax for policing next year: Lincolnshire PCC defends precept increase

“Vast majority will pay less”

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones defended a proposed rise in the force’s share of the council tax precept by nearly £15 for Band D residents.

Mr Jones’ proposals would see tax rise by £14.94 – a 5.41% increase. He is also proposing an indicative rise of £9.99 next year.

The proposed increase is expected to raise around £3.6 million more funding this year than in 2022/23.

The latest central government grant settlement to Lincolnshire Police was a small uplift, but left a funding gap of £3.4 million – with some balancing done through reserves.

Mr Jones said the rise was necessary to provide a quality policing service. He added the vast majority of residents would pay less.

However, he acknowledged that it was still “money that people earned and this is not a choice that’s done lightly.”

“I believe in a low tax economy and law and order. That’s why I consult really hard and reach out to as many people as possible,” he said.

A consultation carried out in December, saw 3,843 people respond with 83% supporting an increase.

He said when he was elected seven years ago the force faced “huge financial challenges” but that in his tenure he had used council tax rises, government lobbying and new technology to deliver services.

He said he had always taken the views of residents on board and that the force now had close to the highest number of officers in its history.

“Back then the force was able to spend around £116m and I’m now able to provide £152m.

“We’ve also attracted 10s of millions of pounds for other things,” he said, pointing to drones and other tech improvements.

“We have delivered an efficient and effective policing.”

Lincolnshire Police, remains the lowest funded in the UK.

Mr Jones said every force was “facing financial hardships” but was hopeful a new review would consider the county’s sparsity, the long rural roads and transient populations such as tourists.

However, he warned: “Even if it means increases for us it will mean reductions for somebody else. It will take a long time before the benefits will happen.

“It’s not going to be a magic bullet that saves us but in the longer term it will be reflective of Lincolnshire’s needs.”

A funding gap of £10 million is expected over the next few years, the force needs to make recurrent savings of £3 million per year by 2025/26.

On Thursday, Lincolnshire Police confirmed plans to cut the number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in the county from 91 to 50.

However, Mr Jones and his team said the funding would be redistributed to strengthen other areas and maintain police officers elsewhere.

This included nine new safeguarding police staff tackling domestic violence, 12 detectives working on vulnerable children and adults, 15 call takers and five professional standards staff.

“I’m not saying its an easy choice but the point is there are other things the Chief Constable has got to be mindful of,” said Mr Jones.

The proposed council tax increase is set to be discussed by local councillors next Friday.

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