ALAN CHARLES: First police budget revealed

Cllr Alan Charles Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire
Cllr Alan Charles Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner has revealed plans for his first police budget – including how much council tax residents will pay next year.

Alan Charles says maintaining frontline resources and police officer posts is crucial to protecting the public and has announced proposals to increase the share the public pay towards policing.

This budget and planned increase will now be considered by members of the Police and Crime Panel on January 31 before being finalised.

The provisional revenue budget for policing in 2013/14 has been set at £170.6m.

This incorporates a £2m shortfall in Government funding which represents 1.6 per cent of the total budget.

In his first budget, Mr Charles has recommended a 1.96 per cent increase in council tax to the Police and Crime Panel.

This is equivalent to an additional £3.21 per year for a Band D householder, bringing the total bill to £166.95 compared to the current £163.74. This increase is worth about £1m to the Commissioner, which could sustain funding for 20 police officers.

Council tax is calculated on Band D households and the additional £3.21 per year equates to less than a penny a day to maintain frontline policing services. Currently eight out of ten households in Derbyshire pay less than the Band D charge and under the plan a Band A household would be paying a smaller additional amount of £2.14 per year.

A capital programme worth £23.2m for 2013-17 has been approved which supports investment plans that would not have been possible through the continued acceptance of the Government’s precept freeze grants. This figure includes additional funding committed by Mr Charles to cover the cost of basic maintenance including the replacement of cars and equipment and the maintenance of police buildings.

Key features of Mr Charles’ first budget are:

· Saving £100,000 from the costs of running his own office which has been reinvested to provide an additional four PCSOs.

· The creation of a £0.25m Crime Prevention Fund for groups to bid for funding to support local crime prevention initiatives

· Investment in the Force through an enhanced capital programme

· Increased funding in neighbourhood engagement

· Maintaining the current level of frontline policing – most importantly protecting police officer numbers

Speaking of the budget, Mr Charles said: “I sincerely regret being in a position where I have to increase the amount of council tax residents must pay for policing just to maintain the status quo in service and continue keeping them safe. Our current financial situation is a direct result of the Government’s cut in funding for Derbyshire which amounts to some 20% of our total grant over the past few years as well as the on-going unfairness which sees Derbyshire receiving only a fraction of its entitlement because of the funding formula being applied. This means that other Forces receive more funds than they are due, while we receive less.

“My commitment as Derbyshire’s first elected Commissioner is to drive crime down and keep our streets safe. Unfortunately if the precept is not increased it would be impossible to keep the current level of police manpower in the future and this could compromise the level of protection Derbyshire police offers its communities.”