Tuesday 7 February 2023
PCC KIM MCGUINNESS’ PRECEPT PLAN WILL PUT MORE OFFICERS IN THE HEART OF LOCAL COMMUNITIES
NORTHUMBRIA Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, has today had financial plans agreed that will help give a major boost to neighbourhood policing teams.
As the area’s PCC, Kim McGuinness is required to set the policing precept, or the amount residents pay for policing in their council tax, for the next financial year.
As Northumbria Police faces rising inflation and cost pressures, the Commissioner has put forward precept plans that mean local people will pay on average 83p pence a month extra.
Backed today by members at the Northumbria Police and Crime Panel she said her priority would be ensuring funds go towards deploying 134 more officers into frontline policing, to help maintain a visible police presence in local communities.
The precept plans follow a three-week public consultation which included telephone surveys, postal letters and media promotion.
70% of telephone respondents and 62% of local residents who completed the survey online, agreed that they would support an increase to offset the rising costs facing the force and prevent deeper cuts to police budgets.
The average £15.00 per year for a Band D property precept increase will provide over £6m in extra funds for 2023/24 which will help deliver a shake-up to neighbourhood policing that will make officers more visible across communities. The plans were agreed by members of the panel who felt the rise was necessary. Inflation and other cost increases mean the force needs to find more than £11.7m in savings. This figure would rise to £15.8m if the public chose not to back a rise in the precept.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “People here in the North East repeatedly tell me they want more police officers out on the streets, in the heart of our local communities, and I’m with them on that. To deliver this, we need more money from somewhere. Uplift barely covers the hundreds of officers we’ve lost over the years and the ongoing financial pressures faced by the force are huge.
Asked how this extra money would be spent, the Commissioner, explained, “We’re drawing up big plans to re-deploy officers into neighbourhood policing – it’s what people want. Let’s be clear though, substantial changes will have to be made elsewhere in the force.
“I must stress having faced years of significant Government cuts, the additional funds raised through local taxpayers won’t fix everything, far from it. The force will still have nowhere near what it needs; and will need to use reserves and other financial efficiencies to balance the books.
“Raising the precept really isn’t an easy decision but as Police Commissioner I feel I have been forced into a corner on this. If Government won’t foot the bill, I’m left with turning to local people – the people who care about our region being safe and free from crime. The people who year-on-year are contributing to help fight and prevent crime in the region because Government is ignoring our local policing needs up here.
“I’m thankful to the residents supporting the increase, who have acknowledged the economic pressures facing the police and other public services. I also more than understand those who weren’t in favour – whose family budgets are facing their own struggles and who don’t believe money to rescue a public service should be coming from their purse. That’s a sentiment I agree with too and it really is a very tough call and one I wish I had more choice with.”
Notes to Editors
At the Police and Crime Panel which took place in Gateshead on Tuesday 7 February, members agreed to a precept increase of £15.00 per year for a Band D property to better fund local policing. Band A households make up the largest share of properties in the Northumbria force area, and for them the increase is 83p a month (£10.00 per year).
The proposed increase would raise an additional £6.120m income, which will:
- Deliver a restructure of neighbourhood policing, allocating 134 new officers into specialist frontline roles to take on the fight against crime, and;
- Help protect the force from the impact of significant budget pressures and spiralling inflation.
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