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Gloucestershire Business News

PCC canvassing views on cost of Gloucestershire's policing

Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl is writing to people in Gloucestershire to explain how the county's force is funded and ask if they are prepared pay more towards their local police service.

While he expects to be told many are unwilling or unable to pay anything, he warns would mean making unavoidable cuts to the Constabulary.

The move follows a statement from the Home Office that Gloucestershire Constabulary would receive £6.6million to meet costs over the next financial year.

But the PCC said £3.2million of that would come in the form of a Government grant with the remaining £3.4million from a further Council Tax increase - the equivalent of £15 on a band D householder's annual bill.

A public survey has seen many respondents say they would struggle to pay more for the police along with other likely increases for county and district council services.

Mr Surl said: "It is my responsibility to make sure the Police have enough money to pay for the tools to do their job, but I also understand that many people have lost their jobs or are worried about their future prospects.

"It is important everyone understands that Gloucestershire receives a far lower rate of funding per head of population than most other forces and has done for a number of years.

"The settlement is worked out through a formula used by the Government which explains why Gloucestershire receives the government grant it does and why the remainder will come from Council Tax."

He continued: "I'm disappointed the Government has indicated the police precept will go up by 5.8 per cent as this is a local decision, made by the commissioner following consultation with businesses and residents and is yet to be made.

"That is why I am seeking to find out how much people can afford or are willing to pay to maintain a viable police force, while at the same time recognising that doing nothing will seriously undermine the service the Constabulary provides."

Mr Surl will present his proposed budget to the Police and Crime Panel on February 9.

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