Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg is seeking views from members of the community as part of his annual public consultation on the police budget.
To help address further cuts to police funding, Ron intends to increase the amount of Council Tax which goes to the police service, known as the precept, by 1.98%. This equates to just £2.20 over the year, or 4p a week, for a property in Council Tax Band A.
Hogg said: “In the 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), the Government stated that they will protect the overall policing budget. Ministers have chosen to allocate some of this money to national priorities like counter-terrorism, but they have also cut the money available for local policing in order to fund organisations like the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
“Furthermore, they have increased the amount of police money which we can only get back if we bid for it.
“This means that the amount of funding coming to local policing from Government is still reducing year on year. In 2017-18 I will receive £1.1m less to fund your local police force than I did in 2016-17.”
He added: “I am therefore consulting residents on a proposal to increase their contribution to local policing, which for most people will mean paying 4 to 6 pence more a week.
“Despite the reductions in officer numbers since 2010, I remain fully committed to maintaining neighbourhood policing and keeping Durham Constabulary as the best police force in the country.
“The increase I am proposing would raise enough money to keep approximately 11 police officers on our streets, compared to freezing the precept at its current level.
“We know that the Government is considering making changes to the way police forces are funded, and are concerned our budgets may reduce further in the future.
“If I do not ask local people to make an additional contribution, the force will be less resilient to future budget reductions.
“Your views are important, so please take a few minutes to complete the survey before it closes later in January.”
The public consultation is open until Sunday January 29. Residents are can provide their views in a number of ways, including through the survey on Ron Hogg’s website at: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk, by Facebook or Twitter (search for Durham PCC), or by telephone on: 0191 3752001.