Members of the public are being asked to comment on proposals to increase the amount of Council Tax which goes to the police service, known as the precept.
The unexpected General Election in December led to a delay in the announcement of the amount of government grant for policing in 2020-21.
For 2019-20, the precept was £205.24 per household, or £3.95 a week for Band D properties.
It is proposed to increase the precept by £10 per year (less than 20p per week) for Band D properties, with lower increases for the lower Council Tax Bands and higher increases for the others.
This is in line with the expectation from the Government as set out in the 2020 Police Funding Settlement.
Acting Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Steve White, who is responsible for the decision, said: “Durham Constabulary is one of the most efficient police force in the country according to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.
“That’s a consequence of the force’s commitment to innovation and making the very best use of the money available.
“Together we continue to work hard to find further efficiencies, but this gets harder every year as crime continues to rise.
“The funding which the Government gives to us for the policing of Co Durham and Darlington has reduced in real terms by 25% since 2010, and as a consequence there are currently around 380 fewer Police Officers in post than ten years ago, and fewer PCSOs and fewer Police staff.
“Under the Government ‘uplift programme’ we aim to have 68 additional officers in place by March 2021, and inevitably it will take time for these officers to be trained to the high standards which local people expect. Funding for year 2 and year 3 of the ‘uplift programme’ is still yet to be decided.
“The reality is that with a rise in precept of £10 per property per year, Durham Constabulary is still looking to manage a deficit budget in three years time.
“Without an increase the deficit will happen sooner and will therefore affect the forces ability to maintain its efficiency and effectiveness. I am looking forward to hearing people’s views.”
The public can comment on the proposed increase by completing the survey on the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioners website www.durham-pcc.gov.uk or directly to the survey on www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/26JMB9R
Or through the links on our social media pages. The consultation is open until midnight on February 5.