Derbyshire council tax payers look set to pay more for policing

Police on our streets...

Police on our streets...

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The amount of money residents pay for policing in their council tax could rise by almost two per cent in a bid to rake in £1million a year.

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles is consulting on plans for an increase of £3.39p per year for a Band D property.

Mr Charles said the proposed hike, which would help fill this year’s expected budget gap, would be subject to a public consultation.

“Anything less than this would result in a greater reduction in police officer numbers and affect the level of service that Derbyshire Constabulary is able to provide - something that nobody wants to happen,” he said.

“Put simply, we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. If we seek an increase that’s higher than two per cent, the Government has said this will trigger a local referendum, which is not something I am prepared to do at this time.

“If we stick to within the Government’s ‘under two per cent’ limit we will raise around £1m. However, this will not prevent the need for difficult decisions including the likelihood of some reduction in police officer and staff numbers and in the number of buildings used by Derbyshire Constabulary.”

He added: “Every year since 2010 the Government grant – which funds two-thirds of policing in Derbyshire – has been cut. Disappointingly, we are facing similar treatment this year. To try to offset this, I have been working with Chief Constable Mick Creedon to identify savings and balance the budget. Much progress has been made but we still expect a shortfall.”

Despite the cuts in recent years, Government statistics show crime has continued to fall in Derbyshire.

“This is quite remarkable and is thanks to the dedication of our police service,” Mr Charles said.

“However, there is clear evidence that digital and cyber-crime – which is not included in the statistics – is increasingly significantly. This is an area of crime that we clearly need to deal with, but more funding is crucial to help reduce the number of victims.”

Policing in Derbyshire in 2015/16 will cost about £169m and around one-third of the total funding comes from the policing element of the council tax.

Residents should visit www.derbyshire-pcc.gov.uk by Sunday, January 25 to have their say on the proposed hike.

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