North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has proposed increasing the police’e share of the council tax precept by more than ten per cent.
Under commissioner Julia Mulligan’s plans, the North Yorkshire Police precept would go up by £23.95 per year or 10.3 per cent, while the precept for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service would go up by £2.07 per year or 2.99 per cent.
Mrs Mulligan calls the proposals a “difficult decision” but says they will mean extra money for North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service..
The plan will now go to the Police, Fire and Crime Panel for their approval on Tuesday, February 5.
If agreed by the panel, the commissioner says the additional money for the police will be used by the Chief Constable to boost local, visible policing, increasing the number of police officers by at least 50 plus approximately 20 PCSOs and new public safety officers.
These new recruits would be in addition to the already announced plans to increase officer numbers by 81, taking the total number of officers across North Yorkshire and York to 1,450 with 220 PCSOs.
Figures published last year showed that the frontline workforce at North Yorkshire Police – including PCs, PCSOs and special constables – fell by 238 officers between 2007 and 2017, a 14.7 per cent drop.
In 2017 – the most recent figures then available – the force had 1,373 frontline officers, compared to 1,611 in 2007.
The decision follows a consultation with over 2,500 residents across York and North Yorkshire.
While there was no clear majority for any proposal, a third voted for a freeze with just under another third voting for an increase at the same level as last year, which equated to £11.50 annual increase. The remainder of the 2,741 respondents voted for an increase of £11.50 to £24, or higher than £24.
Julia Mulligan said: “This has been the most difficult precept decision yet.
“I know that no-one likes paying more money and many families and individuals are facing financial challenges, but it is clear that the majority of the public want to support their local police and fire services.
“I was elected on a commitment to ensuring everyone is as safe as possible, and feels as safe as possible, and I believe that is only possible with these increases.
“From talking to people, listening to their views and analysing the results of the precept survey, the overwhelming view is that if people are to pay more, they expect more. I completely agree. That is why I have worked closely with the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police to ensure that the money raised would be ring-fenced for improvements in local, visible community policing.
“North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service will continue to face significant financial challenges despite the fire precept increase and I call on the government, once more, to recognise the need for investment in our critical emergency services.”