Crime commissioner warns council tax hike needed to protect police from cuts

Zoe Metcalfe, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

York and North Yorkshire crime commissioner Zoe Metcalfe has warned residents they would have to pay an extra £20 a year through their council tax to protect the police service from cuts.

Commissioner Metcalfe, who represents the Conservatives, is currently consulting on what the annual police and fire precepts should be from April.

These are charges that every household pays through their council tax for services.

Around half of the crime commissioner’s budget comes from council tax with a government grant making up the rest.

Currently, Band D households in York and North Yorkshire pay a precept of £295.09 towards the police force.

It’s likely to increase later this year with four options put forward including a precept freeze and increases of 3.4%, 5.1% and 6.8%.

But in a report that will be discussed by councillors in Northallerton next week, Commissioner Metcalfe said only the highest increase of 6.8%, which would raise an additional £6.2m, could guarantee current service levels.

Smaller increases would lead to reductions unless savings could be found, she wrote.

However, this year government is only allowing crime commissioners to increase the police precept by up to 4.4%, which equates to an extra £13 a year for a Band D properties.

The report adds that the government has increased this year’s grant for crime commissioners by £150m however the money has been ring fenced to hire new police officers.

The report says police finances “continue to be exceptionally tight” with staff pay awards and inflation contributory factors.

The bulk of council tax is set by North Yorkshire Council however the authority is yet to say if it will increase its precept this year.

Comissioner Metcalfe also sets the precept for the fire and rescue service. Further details are available on the following website, with the consultation open until January 21: http://www.tellcommissionerzoe.co.uk/

Commissioner Metcalfe said: “It is never easy to ask residents for more money, and I know that many individuals and families are facing financial pressures once again this coming year, but our emergency services are also dealing with rising costs as they continue their vital work to keep us all safe.

“And again, this year the decision will be challenging, as I have to balance the burden on taxpayers and the growing demands for services from our police and fire and rescue services, so it’s vital that I hear your views.”

1 Comment

  1. Each Ratable property should pay £52-00 per annum for our Police and Fire Services therefore £1-00 per week, Not a lot when you consider Take-aways, Hair do’s, Coloured Nails, Mobiles and other electronic ‘must haves’
    Consider the support that we require when things go wrong

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