Posted: Friday 5th January 2018
Happy 2018! Before we look to the year ahead, I would like to say a massive thank you to those emergency services that were required to work throughout the holidays, to keep our local communities safe. It is always incredibly appreciated.
I feel the arrival of a new year not only presents the opportunity to reflect and identify lessons learned, it also allows for a focused and in some cases different approach to the year ahead of us. All I keep hearing on the news and social media is “New Year, New you?” Even the police are using the New Year to promote the opportunity of becoming a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO). Applications opened on the police website yesterday and I would encourage anyone who is interested in serving their community, looking for a new challenge where no two days are the same, to consider applying.
The prospects of goal setting, embracing new challenges and gaining new experiences are all things that I would encourage you to look to maximise over the forthcoming year. After all life is not a rehearsal. I would like to challenge you to gain a new experience and act on getting involved in your local policing service. Volunteering is one of the most selfless examples of helping others and can be incredibly rewarding. The time to act is now, whether you become a PSCO, an independent custody visitor or to set up a community speed watch do something soon, because apparently most New Year’s resolutions are broken by January 12. With so many opportunities available in policing and the chance to try something different, there really is something for everyone.
Next week I will be talking to residents about the policing part of the council tax. The police part of the council tax makes up just 11% of the overall demand on households with the rest of the money going to other public services such as the City Council and fire. The Government surprised Police and Crime Commissioners just before Christmas by changing their rules on how much council tax could be raised towards policing. Each Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) can now raise up to an additional £12 a year or £1 a month for policing from residents. I said just before Christmas I was minded to use this opportunity if it meant that we could protect neighbourhood policing and the Chief Constable has assured me that neighbourhood policing would be protected if we have the additional funds.
The changes to the policing part of the council tax mean that we could raise £7 million towards the deficit in the police budget. It would also mean the average band D household would pay £193.81 from £181.81. I am acutely aware of the pressures on household budgets and do not take decisions like these lightly. I will be listening to residents at The Galleries Shopping Centre on Wednesday, January 10 at 10am. You can also comment on the @AandSPC social media or email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01275 816377 with your views.