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Commissioner ‘relieved and pleased’ by police precept survey support

Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner for Suffolk  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner for Suffolk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

More than two thirds of responses to public consultation have backed plans to increase the amount of council tax collected for the police.

An online survey canvassed opinion on the police and crime commissioner’s recommendation for an almost 12.7% rise in annual contributions.

Results showed 69% of 868 responses supported the move, which follows last year’s 6.8% precept rise and would add £23.94 to average annual bills from April.

The proposal will now go before Suffolk’s Police and Crime Panel for approval later this month.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner (PCC), said: “I’m relieved and pleased by the level of support for what was a very difficult decision to make.”

In December, policing minister Nick Hurd permitted PCCs to put up the precept by up to £24 for a band D property.

In Suffolk, it would raise £6.5m, which, along with Home Office funding and a one-off grant towards a rise in employer pension contributions, would boost the budget by £4.8m after added costs and savings.

Based on the chief constable’s recommendations, the money would fund another 29 officers, 24 investigators, a share of 45 staff with Norfolk, and investment in more technology and equipment.

Mr Passmore said: “The reason we proposed an increase was for extra resources to tackle issues raised in correspondence and at public meetings.

“We’re able to point to exactly where the money would be spent.

“I expect the proposals that informed the recommendation to deliver results.”

The force currently deals with the highest case load per officer in the country, but receives among the lowest funding settlements.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has vowed to prioritise police funding in the Comprehensive Spending Review, but confirmation has yet to made of any real-terms increase from central government.

“We have to make the case for a better and more just settlement, but I don’t want anyone to think we’re not keeping the pedal to the floor when it comes to making savings,” said Mr Passmore.

“I take no pleasure in putting tax up, but feel there is no choice.

“We need a clear message from the government; Are we going to have to continue increasing funding locally, or is it going to come from central government?”

Proposals go before the Police and Crime Panel on January 25.

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