Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane has gained significant public support for his proposed increase in the policing element of the council tax of £2 per month (for a Band D household) to support local policing.
Through online surveys and face to face consultations over 6500 local residents were consulted, and of those who answered the question on how much they would be willing to pay, 76% gave their support for an increase of up to or over £24 a year. This recommendation has also gained further support from Hampshire Constabulary Chief Constable, Hampshire Police Federation, UNISON and Neighbourhood Watch.
The Commissioner will now present the £2 per month (equivalent to £24 per annum or 46p per week) as his recommendation for the council tax precept for 2019/20 to the Police and Crime Panel on Friday 25 January 2019.
Michael Lane said: “Listening to, and responding to, the people I represent, is a core part of my role and the views expressed as part of my consultation have helped to inform my proposal for an increase in the policing element of the council tax. I would like to thank all of those people who took part and gave me their views.
“The consultation has shown that the community value the police, and that they recognise that the service is stretched and in need of additional resources.
“Delivering modern operationally effective policing to keep us safe and defeat the greatest threats, while responding to community priorities is not an easy task in times of financial constraint, growing complexity and necessary change programmes to try to keep us ahead of criminals and those who wish us harm.
“I am clear, and the Chief Constable is clear in her recommendations to me, that to protect current police services we must take full advantage of the settlement. All of the increase in the policing precept will be used to support local policing, and will enable the recruitment of just over 200 officers.”
Olivia Pinkney, Chief Constable added: “The constabulary has been consulted and supports this budget. We are particularly delighted that so many members of the public have also expressed their support for policing. I would like to say thank you to every one of them.
“Focusing on detecting and preventing high harm offences is crucial to our local policing service, and investing to improve our investigations capability will see more victims of the most serious crimes get justice. Many criminals deliberately operate away from the public eye. They cause misery themselves and create the conditions for young and vulnerable people to get involved in drugs, violence and lower level crime. This has a very visible impact on our communities. These plans set us on the right track to tackle this.
“Without the additional local funding that our Police and Crime Commissioner is recommending, police numbers would be reduced to an unsustainable level.
“With this funding we can push ahead with plans to recruit 200 officers, and more police staff investigators.”
Both Hampshire Police Federation and UNISON have also publically made clear their support for the recommendation for the £24 increase to support local policing.
Alex Charge, chair of Hampshire Police Federation, said: “Whilst we would want central Government to provide 100% of funding for Policing, this is not the case. Hampshire Police Federation welcome the tax precept increase, and the agreement that all this money will be spent on Policing. It’s not a solution to the funding crisis but it is a life line that Hampshire needs.”
In a letter to the Commissioner in December 2018, Margaret Filley, President of the Neighbourhood Watch Association, said, “In your recent budget statement you have suggested raising the precept to its maximum amount across areas covered by Hampshire Constabulary. This is very welcome. Neighbourhood Watch shares your intent in creating ‘safer communities’ as our prime focus. This extra funding for the constabulary will enable the Chief Constable to better prepare for current and future threats in an ever more complex and changing crime landscape.”
Despite the significant support for the increase to protect local policing, through the Commissioner’s consultation, the local residents expressed their concern over continued lack of appropriate funding from the Government. The Commissioner will be putting this strong feeling to the Minister as he continues to lobby for a fairer funding formula.
Michael Lane added, “I have heard from our communities that it is not sustainable or equitable that the council taxpayers within Hampshire should continue in future to make good some of the shortfall in national funding, and I will carefully consider this in future years. At this time there is no clear indication on Government funding for future years and I will be pressing for certainty over next year’s settlement alongside continuing to lobby for a fairer national funding formula as a more sustainable funding solution.”