Warks taxpayers vote to pay more to keep bobbies on the beat - The Rugby Observer

Warks taxpayers vote to pay more to keep bobbies on the beat

Andy Morris 1st Feb, 2018 Updated: 1st Feb, 2018   0

TAXPAYERS in Warwickshire are happy to pay more to keep bobbies on the beat.

Over 70 per cent of 1,500 people who took part in a public consultation voted for the maximum proposed rise in Warwickshire Police’s share of Council Tax – a £12 annual increase on an average Band D property.

The hike, approved on Thursday (February 1) by Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Panel, will save the jobs of around 50 of the force’s 800 frontline police officers – although budget cuts could still see around ten lose their jobs.

A Government freeze on police budgets this year will see Warwickshire Police lose around £950,000.

But Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) across the country are being allowed to raise their percentage of Council Tax, and Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe offered residents the choice of a £12, £10 or £8 rise to the average Band D bill. Most opted for the £12 hike.

Mr Seccombe says the proposed rise will keep 50 officers on the street, up from his initial estimate of 33.

He said: “It’s clear the public wants to see more police on their streets.

“Without a cash boost of this scale, Warwickshire Police would lose around 60 police officer posts over the medium term – a position that would reduce the level of service to the public.

“I do not think this is acceptable and the consultation shows this is not what the public want.”

Warwickshire Police Chief Constable Martin Jelley said: “I recognise this extra funding will not resolve all our longer term financial challenges and we will need to be as effective and efficient as we can. This is, however, a very welcome increase in funding which will allow me to reinvest in Operational Policing.”

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics last year showed crime in Warwickshire had risen by around a quarter in the 12 months to June.

Government cuts since 2010 have resulted in 138 fewer police officers in Warwickshire.

Just over seven per cent of consultation respondents supported a £10 increase, and 14 per cent the lowest proposed rise of £8. Just under eight per cent said they would prefer not to see any increase.

Warwickshire Police’s 2018/19 budget will be finalised later this month. The police portion of the overall council tax bill equates to around ten per cent.

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