Officers on the street
Over 3,000 people have told Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens what they would be prepared to pay towards policing next year in their council tax.
Since May, Sue Mountstevens has been consulting over the policing part of the council tax and asking residents how much they would be prepared to pay.
Results of the 3186 responses have now been analysed with the majority of people (74.6%) favouring a rise in the policing part of the council tax of 2% or more.
Nearly one-third (28.3%) favoured an increase of up to 10% an additional £16.80 on top of £168 a year the average household in Avon and Somerset pays towards policing. While 22% of residents favoured a freeze to the policing part of the council tax.
Sue Mountstevens said: “It’s been fantastic meeting and talking to residents about this issue. With household bills increasing it is only right that I seek their views about this.
“It helps my decision making to know that people are prepared to pay more towards policing. I will obviously be looking at all ways the police can make further savings as well as any incentives from the Government to continue to freeze the policing part of the council tax.
“The policing part of the council tax has been frozen for the past three years and with reductions in government funding, inflation and essential costs such as fuel and national insurance rising it is now right that we look at the prospect of an increase in the policing part of the council tax.
“I welcome hearing the views of the Police and Crime Panel on this next week.”
Despite a possible increase in the policing part of the council tax of up to 2% (£3.36 a year) the police would have to find savings of £11.9m.
Money for policing from the Government has been reducing since October 2010 and by April next year Avon and Somerset Police will have made savings totalling £34.4m.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner believes that any increase above 2% could be subject to a referendum.
The consultation from residents has been gathered through a telephone survey, an online survey and a voting ballot at events across the summer including the Bath & West Show, Shepton Mallet to St Paul’s Carnival, Bristol.
The Police and Crime Panel will now discuss the options at their meeting on Wednesday, December 11 before a final decision on the police budget is made in February, 2014.
An average household means a Band D property.
Posted on Wednesday 4th December 2013