Backing for police commissioner's plans to raise council tax

By a County Press reporter

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

 

PLANS to raise the policing element of council tax have been approved following warnings about the future of the force from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes.

As reported by the County Press, Mr Hayes raised fears that funding cuts to the police could damage the force’s hard work.

Facing the need to save £25m by April 2017, he proposed a three per cent increase in the police precept, backed by Hampshire Police Federation chair John Apter.

The police and crime panel, which holds Mr Hayes to account and can influence decisions on council tax, met on Friday and voted in favour of the rise — 17 votes in favour, one against and one abstention.

A government announcement is expected soon, which will set the limit for how much PCCs can increase their precept before a public referendum is triggered, which will influence the commissioner’s final decision.

A spokeswoman said the PCP recommend that should the public referendum limit be lower than the proposed three per cent increase, the increase should be capped at that limit.

Isle of Wight councillor and police and crime panel chairman Cllr David Stewart said: "The Panel probed the police and crime commissioner thoroughly on the rationale and data behind the recommendation for the precept increase, because we are acutely aware that the public are having to deal with numerous austerity measures in the current economic climate.

"The general view of the panel was to look to maintain support for the safety of communities, and we were satisfied, based on the information and scrutiny undertaken, that we could support a further three per cent in the precept this year.

"We hope that residents will understand that there are significant activities planned for policing, including a proposed restructure, and substantial savings have to be achieved over and above the previous £55 million target set for the period 2011-2015. We want to ensure that communities across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight receive the level of policing they deserve."

The proposed increase of 3 per cent to the policing precept for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will be subject to confirmation by the Police and Crime Commissioner before the end of March 2014.

Should the Isle of Wight Council raise council tax? Have your say here.

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