Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick has cautiously welcomed the provisional government funding announcement.
Mr Hardwick has also stated that he is planning to consult with the public before setting the precept for the Police’s share of the council tax.
In a statement Mr Hardwick stated:
“The income I received from the Home Office in 2015/16 was £65.9m. The provisional figure for 2016/17 is £65.5m. I cautiously welcome this, however the new funding formula which has been delayed must ensure those Forces such as Lincolnshire that have a history of delivering efficiencies are not penalised in the future. The new funding arrangements need to incentivise those less efficient forces into action. This is not evident in this year’s settlement.
In his Spending Review and Autumn Statement announcement a few weeks ago, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said “there will be no cuts in the police budget at all.” However this assumes that PCCs in England increase their precept to the maximum referendum limit in 2016/17.
I raise around 40% of the costs of policing in Lincolnshire from the Council Tax precept. This is above the national average. As I have always said, and the Home Affairs Select Committee agrees, this is unfair. I have therefore always been clear that I do not wish to place a greater burden on the taxpayers of this County. However I also have a duty to maintain efficient and effective police services in Lincolnshire and must have regard to the Chief Constable’s advice about the resources he needs to keep our communities safe. In setting my budget I must consider these duties alongside the level of central government grant and what it is fair to raise through the precept. I also need to understand the views of the people of Lincolnshire. Next week, I will launch a consultation to seek their views on how we should focus our resources over the coming year.
All of this information will inform the development of my budget for the coming year and I will present my Council Tax precept proposal to the Police and Crime Panel on 5 February 2016.
Ministers have been very clear that Lincolnshire has not been treated fairly in the past. The Chief Constable and I will continue to work positively with Government to inform the development of a new funding formula that is fair to both Lincolnshire and the police service as a whole.”