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Gloucestershire Business News

Taxpayers have to dig deeper to pay for county police

Council taxpayers will have to pay more for policing in the county this year.

Gloucestershire County Council's Police and Crime Panel has unanimously backed Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl's proposal for a 5.6 per cent increase.

This will add an extra £1 per month or £12 to a band D householder's annual bill and give the police a budget of around £109m for the current financial year.

Taking into account rising inflation and the pay increase already agreed by the Government, it will give the Constabulary an extra £1.7m to invest.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl (pictured right) said, "The Government announced before Christmas there would be no more money for policing in Gloucestershire through national taxation but instead gave PCCs permission to increase the portion of council tax that pays for it. The figure proposed by the Home Office for Gloucestershire was 5.6 per cent.

"Like all other public bodies that have had to tighten their belts, the Constabulary has made £30m in cuts in the last seven years. However, unlike some forces, and thanks to careful management of our finances during that period, we are now in a position to use the extra revenue raised to improve services and not just plug gaps in spending."

He added: "I am committed to improving our neighbourhood policing and the Chief Constable has made a strong case for further investment that will enhance links with our communities.

"Some of the money raised will be invested in 16 new neighbourhood posts. The rest will go towards child protection and tackling child sexual exploitation; providing officers with body worn videos and making improvements to the role played by police in the criminal justice system."

The proposals agreed today also provide for one per cent of the policing budget to be made available to continue to support community projects and programmes managed through the Commissioner's Fund.

Punchline believes few people would begrudge giving the police extra money to help keep us safe. But we do seriously question the need for the Constabulary to maintain two police horses and riders at great expense and for what?

When was the last time this county had a crowd control problem? Let's send the police horses to the retirement home and spend the money on providing more Bobbies on the beat instead.

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