Merseyside’s Police Commissioner’s proposals to balance the region’s police budget in the face of on-going government grants cuts have been approved by the Police and Crime Panel.
The Panel considered and unanimously approved Jane Kennedy’s plans to offset the impact of a £3.3m funding shortfall caused by a Government cut to Merseyside Police’s grant funding.
Her proposal included increasing the police precept, collected as part of the Council Tax, by 1.95%. While Government ministers assumed that taxpayers could pay more to offset the shortfall in the grant they provided, Jane only included this increase after consulting with local people.
More than 1,120 people responded to the consultation, with 82% of respondents supporting the proposal to pay slightly more in order to protect local policing. The increase works out as 4p a week or £2 a year for a Band A household – the amount paid by the majority of tax payers on Merseyside.
Now the Police and Crime Panel have signalled their endorsement of the Commissioner’s plans, she will ask the region’s local authorities to implement the increase this April.
Even with this extra contribution by local people through the police precept, the Commissioner and Chief Constable will still have to find £8.3m of savings next financial year in order to balance the budget.
Jane said: “Asking people to pay more is something I do extremely reluctantly, but my consultation clearly demonstrated that people are willing to support their local police service and contribute a little extra in order to protect frontline police services. The Police and Crime Panel have also recognised the necessity of this increase and I’m grateful for their support.
“Merseyside Police has lost more than 1,500 officers, PCSOs and staff since 2010, yet still the government fails to safeguard police budgets and, instead, arrogantly assumed local people, who are already feeling the pinch, can help to make up the shortfall.
“This tied my hands. Without local taxpayers agreeing to pay more our police service would have again lost out and we cannot afford to lose any more.
“I thank the public for playing their part in protecting our police service and helping to keep our communities safe.”