Message from Michael Lane, Police and Crime Commissioner:
I have responsibility for setting the policing budget locally and allocating how it is spent. In 2018/19, of the £315 million available to me, I allocated 98.3% to policing.
The Chief Constable is independently responsible for operational policing to ensure operational effectiveness, efficiency and necessary changes. It is my responsibility to set her priorities on your behalf and challenge her to recognise and meet community priorities in setting her plans.
The nature of crime is changing. It is essential to ensure we stay ahead of criminals and those who wish us harm. There are growing demands from violent crime, including knife crime, and traditional risks continue, such as anti-social behaviour and burglary. But demand is growing also from new forms of crime, such as cyber-crime and online vulnerabilities including fraud. These online, digital threats and vulnerabilities often target the young and old specifically.
The budget survey is now closed.
Not all of my work or all the money I control is spent on Hampshire Constabulary (Policing). A small but important part, 1.7% of the budget, goes to projects that help to prevent crime, reduce offending, protect the vulnerable, support victims of crime and deliver statutory and mandatory requirements for governance. And much of this investment, in addition to its core purpose, helps to reduce the demand on frontline policing.
Since January 2017, I have been clear, alongside the Chief Constable, that funding for my area (serving Hampshire, IoW, Portsmouth and Southampton) is too low to meet existing demands of it or to address both growth in demand and necessary change.
Last year, for 2018/19 I approved with your support an increase to the Local Precept (Council Tax) of £12 per year. This sum protected policing from planned cuts that would otherwise have been necessary to stay within budget. It was a welcome option that included saving more than 100 police officers for the front line and contributing to our safety and, of course, to greater visibility. But there was no change to the basic funding formula
This means that there will be difficult choices and decisions to make for this coming year and I need to hear from you about your support for how much money I raise and where it should be spent.
To give you my reassurance, I wish to make a commitment that all of the money that comes from a rise in local council tax will ensure that locally communities will have the same level of policing support – configured by the Chief Constable and her team to meet current threats.
Last year I sought to be transparent for the whole budget for policing and the activities beyond policing, including the money that is spent on the commissioned projects and other statutory duties of a Police and Crime Commissioner. This created some debate but there was also strong support for the value of the work delivered in partnership to keep people safer.