Lincolnshire Police Authority today agreed a 3.96 per cent rise in the policing element of the Council Tax. This means that from April a Band D household will pay an extra £ 7.11 a year – or 14 pence a week – for policing.
Police Authority Chairman Barry Young said: ‘ More than 85 per cent of all properties in the county will be asked to pay between 9 pence and 14 pence a week extra to ensure the level of policing that makes Lincolnshire one of the safest places in which to live.
The Authority had a stark choice: either raise the level of our precept or lose more police officers. We believe we have made the right decision. Basically, we are asking Lincolnshire’s council taxpayers to make an investment of a few more pence a week in return for a Force that by April will have 97 per cent of its officers on the front line.
We were told by the Government to cut £20million from our budget by 2014. Without an increase in the policing element of the council tax, a budget reduction of that size would inevitably mean a reduction in the standard of policing.
We are not willing to jeopardise the effectiveness of what is already the leanest, most cost-effective Force in the country.
In the past year the Force has been comprehensively reorganised to improve effectiveness and efficiency; regional collaboration with other East Midlands Forces continues to produce positive results , and we are guaranteed significant benefits well into the future from our strategic partnership with G4S.
We now have a model that will transform the way in which Lincolnshire is policed. Nick Herbert , the Policing Minister, has publicly described our strategic partnership as ‘the right step forward’.
We debated accepting a one-off Government grant equal to a three per cent increase in return for freezing the precept. Taking the offer would have made an already precarious financial position far worse. It would have left the Force and the new Police and Crime Commissioner, who will be elected to replace the Authority in November , with an ever-increasing funding shortfall in coming years, leading to the loss of more police officers and staff.
We could not accept what would be, at best, a temporary financial fix and at worst a threat to public safety in Lincolnshire.
The Authority still faces significant financial challenges but we believe we have provided a solid foundation to secure safety and value for money policing for all the communities we serve’.
Chief Constable Richard Crompton said: ‘Having worked with the Authority for the past seven and a half years, I can guarantee that we have the most effective working relationship of any Force and Authority in the country. Today’s decision was difficult but the unanimous decision indicated that the Authority is convinced that this modest increase is necessary to secure effective policing in Lincolnshire’.