Do you want to pay more for policing in Preston?
Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Clive Grunshaw is going on the road and wants to talk to Preston people about a possible increase in the amount residents pay for policing through council tax bills. He is looking to address a serious shortfall of up to £20m. He wants to know your thoughts.
Grunshaw won the PCC election in November 2012 with a majority of over six thousand votes. He took an oath to ensure the policing needs of Lancashire communities are met as effectively as possible.
He will be touring the county for two weeks giving local people a chance to voice their opinions and views. Events will take place in Preston and Penwortham later this month and during PACT meetings all over Lancashire.
Residents will be able to quiz the Commissioner about the policing budget, and if it should be increased or not.
Mr Grunshaw said: “It is absolutely vital Lancashire’s residents are given the chance to have their say on how much they pay for policing. It is no secret we are facing a significant financial challenge and, based on the financial settlement received in December, we now know we need to save up to £20m by 2017/18.
“Income raised through council tax is a vital source of police funding – and asking people to pay more is something I need to consider in order to relieve the pressure on frontline policing.
“The average Band D property in Lancashire currently pays £152.92 a year toward policing and the Government is offering a grant of around £600,000 if I freeze the precept at that level. However, if every household saw their precept increased by 2% – 6p a week for a Band D property – then we would have an extra £1.2m a year to spend on policing. That’s the equivalent of 26 police officers or 46 PCSOs.
“Even though council tax rise are capped and the Government would not allow a 5% increase in precept, I also want to gauge how the public would feel about paying 5% more – an extra 15p a week – in order to get a full understanding of the level of financial support for policing. A rise on that scale would bring in an additional £3m a year.
“In the current financial climate, it is a difficult decision to ask people to pay more. But we need to minimise the impact of the cuts which have been imposed on Lancashire Constabulary by the Government if we are to maintain the high levels of performance which the force prides itself on.
“I hope residents will take this opportunity to talk to me about the financial challenge the police force is facing, and have their say on how much they believe they should pay before a final decision is made.”
Huge savings have already been mad by the Lancashire Constabulary but the Government is still looking for another £20m by 2017-18.
The consultation events in or near Preston will be at:
Saturday 11 January 11am-1pm at St George’s Shopping Centre, Preston
Tuesday 14 January 6pm-8pm at East Preston PACT, Ribbleton Avenue Community Centre, Ribbleton Avenue, Preston PR1 5RU
The Commissioner will also be speaking at Penwortham Town Council’s meeting on Tuesday 7 January 7pm and 9pm at the Community Centre on Kingsfold Drive, Penwortham.