Extra £450m for police based on every force putting up tax by £12

Police are appealing for witnesses to a road accident in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Police are appealing for witnesses to a road accident in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Most of the £450 million promised police next year will have to come from forces putting up their share of tax bills.

The government’s announcement of a “settlement that makes sure police have the resources they need” came with the condition that £270m would be raised if every force in Britain asked each taxpayer for another £12 a year.

Lifting the precept cap, which required a referendum on any increase above 2%, will mean Suffolk Constabulary has to consider the impact of an increase against the budgetary benefit.

The remaining government money will be largely spent on the counter-terrorism budget and “national priorities, such as investment in digital technology and special grants to help forces with exceptional costs”.

Before the Autumn Budget, police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore warned unfair funding threatened ability to fight crime and uphold safety.

He wanted funding to be proportionate to other counties, including Norfolk, where he said officers dealt with 12% fewer cases.

He also wanted the Home Office to cover any pay rise above 1%; prevent reserves being further depleted; allow the budget to fully benefit from an increased tax base; and end the reduction in capital grant funding allowances.

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Mr Passmore had already proposed a 2% council tax rise, but now has the ability to increase the precept further, without the need of a costly referendum.

“Now that we know what our settlement is for the next financial year, I need to work with the chief constable and our chief financial officer to go through the detail and work out exactly what it means for policing in the county. We will announce our plans in the new year.

“Government has revised the precept cap and we will now have to consider what this might mean for our budget and the impact it will have on council taxpayers.”

Last year’s government decision to protect direct resource funding at ‘flat cash levels’ compared to the previous year – a real terms cut, against increased demand – meant recurring £1.7m savings were required to help fund nationally agreed pay awards.

Policing minister Nick Hurd said the government had listened to the concerns of police forces and had proposed a funding settlement that will “strengthen the police’s ability to fight crime and keep us all safe.”

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