Police boss Ron Hogg has revealed he’s to increase the amount of Council Tax which goes to the police service, known as the precept, by 7.09%.
The rise equates to an increase of £8 a year, or 15p a week for a property in Council Tax Band A, and members of the public are being asked to comment.
Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Hogg says the move is in response to pressure from Government.
“The Government has reduced the funding for policing in Durham and Darlington every year since 2010,” he said.
“We now have around 360 fewer officers than in 2010 – a reduction of 1 in 4.
“I have been lobbying the Government for some years, to fund policing fairly. I did not expect the Government to respond by placing an additional burden on Council Tax payers.
“However, in my view they are abdicating their responsibility to protect our communities. This has put me in a position where, if I do not introduce this increase, I will be reducing the income of Durham Constabulary this year, and for every year afterwards.
“It will inevitably mean fewer police officers in the community, preventing and solving crime. I cannot do that without risking the safety of the community.
“The Government’s decision to relax the cap on the precept equates to an extra 15p per week for a property in Council Tax Band A.
“Durham Constabulary is already the most efficient 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, making the very best use of the money available.
“We continue to challenge every facet of our business in order to find further efficiencies, but this gets harder every year. I welcomed the Government’s recent announcement of pay rises for Police Officers, but they have not provided me with the funding for this.”
Councillor Lucy Hovvels, chair of the Police and Crime Panel, added: “Panel Members understand current financial pressures placed on policing budgets and support the Commissioner’s approach to seek comment from residents on this proposal.”