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Gloucestershire Business News

Panel backs PCC’s council tax rise

Council taxpayers in Gloucestershire will see the maximum rise in council tax for the county's police.

Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Panel yesterday (February 6) unanimously backed police and crime commissioner (PCC) Chris Nelson's plans for a 4.41% increase in council tax.

Mr Nelson told panel members the extra funding would help build on the progress the constabulary has made over the last year, emerging from 'enhanced monitoring' by His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and allow for continued improvement in the future.

A 4.41% increase works out at 25p per week and will add £13 to an average band D householder's annual bill for policing services, taking the total to £308.08, or just over £25 per month. Most people in lower-banded properties will pay less.

Chris Nelson said: "The last 12 months have been extremely busy. Adjusting the way the constabulary works to provide a better service to the public; and then coming out of the police equivalent of 'special measures', involved a massive amount of work.

"That success could not have been achieved without the continued expansion of the force. These increases, although very much welcomed by the force, inevitably put pressure on the budget.

"Last autumn, two-thirds of residents in our perception of crime survey felt the constabulary needed more money to address their concerns about crime. That's why I have worked to attract almost £15m in extra Government grants and other funding, which has helped to reduce sexual violence, domestic abuse, antisocial behaviour and other crimes in both our urban and rural areas.

"Sadly - and regrettably as household budgets continue to be squeezed - continuing increased costs have meant we need to seek the maximum increase in council tax allowed by the Government, just like the vast majority of other commissioners and councils, to balance the budget.

"I will continue to hold the constabulary to account to ensure it provides value for money through quality service to the public."

The cost of policing in Gloucestershire is split almost equally between the Government and local taxpayers, with 53% of funding coming through central taxation and 47% through council tax.

The budget for 2024/25, which covers the period from April 2024 to March 2025, will provide the resources to deliver the Police and Crime Prevention Plan, the PCC's blueprint for policing the county.

The PCC's office published the results its survey on perception of crime last month, with 68% of respondents saying the police was under-funded.

Many wanted to see more spent on tackling drug dealing, burglary, anti-social behaviour, speeding, street drinking, rural crime and organised crime. The PCC has committed to ensure neighbourhood policing is supported to deliver on these priorities.

Image credit: Thousand Word Media

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