NORTHUMBRIA Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, has today had financial plans agreed to hire more officers, set up a force-wide motorbike anti-social behaviour unit and potentially allow for the re-opening of some police stations.
In January, Kim McGuinness launched a public consultation where she outlined frontline investment plans for Northumbria Police – plans that would only be possible with a small rise to the precept – the part of the local tax bill that goes towards policing.
At the start of the year, the Commissioner warned that twelve million pounds in funding needed to be found by the Force due to rising costs and increasing pressures and hit out at Central Government for always ‘falling short’ when it comes to police funding, particularly for the Northumbria Police force area.
Responding to the consultation, 71% of those surveyed said they supported a rise to the precept with 62% backing a rise by the full amount of 72p a month for a Band A property. Those that chose the maximum precept increase cited that it was important that the force remained well-resourced and would not want to see policing numbers in the region even further reduced.
Many respondents also acknowledge that it should be Government who funds this increase, not taxpayers, but accepted they could afford the increase in return for improved policing response.
Backed today by members at the Northumbria Police and Crime Panel said: “Northumbria Police has not received any extra funds from Government to cover the impact of rising bills. We’re being forced to find much needed finances elsewhere, in part, by asking local residents.
“Fortunately, the majority have been supportive, acknowledging the pressures and the need for investment. I am also very understanding of those who weren’t in favour – whose family budgets are tight enough and who don’t believe money to rescue a public service should be coming from their purse. I get that completely and I wish I had more choice on the matter.”
“While I know the precept rise is right decision, it’s a decision I make reluctantly especially as so many are facing their own financial struggles, particularly in our region. At the same time, people want to see more officers out on the streets, they want more staff investigating crime, they want even more done to tackle motorbike disorder – and we now have the green light to deliver all this to help fight crime in our region.”
The precept was signed off by the Police and Crime Panel at a meeting which took place on Tuesday 6th February, 2024. The precept plans follow a three-week public consultation which included telephone surveys, postal letters and media promotion.
71% 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.