Police agree 4.27% precept rise

SUFFOLK Police Authority has set a budget of �109.44 million for policing the county in 2009/10.

SUFFOLK Police Authority has set a budget of �109.44 million for policing the county in 2009/10.

At today's authority meeting, members also agreed an increase in the police's part of the council tax of 4.27%.

This equates to a rise of less than �5 for the year for a Band B property compared with last year.

Police authority chair Gulshan Kayembe said that, as in previous years, members had agreed the budget and level of council tax precept while considering factors including local people's views.

“I believe we have got the balance right,” said Mrs Kayembe. “This year's budget will see the Constabulary aiming to make more than �4.6 million in efficiency savings and productivity gains.

“However, at the same time we will be able to finance some modest growth in tackling domestic abuse, tackling alcohol-related anti-social behaviour, monitoring registered sex offenders and violent offenders in the community and working in schools.

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“These are the areas which people have told us are their priorities.”

However, Mrs Kayembe said that the most challenging factor was setting a budget after receiving the lowest percentage increase in government grant in the country, coupled with the continuing need to make savings.

“Suffolk is a low cost, high performing force which continues to drive down crime while increasing detections,” said Mrs Kayembe.

“This year, as in previous years, the authority has set a budget which is aimed at giving the constabulary the means to continue providing a quality service to local people while trying to keep council tax charges to a minimum.”

At the meeting, Suffolk's chief constable Simon Ash outlined some of the positive steps made by the constabulary during the past year. These include the introduction of the policing pledge, recruiting more police community support officers (PCSOs) and the successful re-organisation of local safer neighbourhood teams, aimed at making them even more effective at tackling local issues.

“It has been a tight financial year - but we have continued to perform by reducing crime while increasing detections - and listening and acting upon local people's priorities,” he said.

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