Increase proposed in police precept

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick.
Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick.

Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has proposed a rise of 1.99 per cent in the force’s proportion of council tax bills - 0.01 per cent less than the amount which would trigger a referendum.

In a statement released yesterday (February 5), Alan Hardwick said: “Today the Government has said that an increase of two per cent or higher in council tax precepts would require a costly referendum.

“I am therefore proposing an increase of 1.99 per cent. This would equate to an extra seven pence per week for a Band D property.”

Mr Hardwick stresses, however, even with this increase the force’s budget would be almost £1.7 million less in 2014/15 than it was in 2013/14.

The Government is cutting its police funding by 4.8 per cent - equivalent to a loss of £3.1 million to Lincolnshire.

Mr Hardwick said: “In January, I highlighted that national initiatives are being prioritised over local policing needs.

“The Government has top-sliced the police grant nationally to the tune of £80 million to prop-up Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the failing Independent Police Complaints Commission.

“Around £50 million, which would have been spent on local policing across the country – a so called ‘innovation fund’ - is being used to cajole inefficient and wasteful forces into finding ways to save money and be more effective.

“In Lincolnshire, we have always taken the view that is part of the day job and done it without financial assistance.

“We would expect others to do the same and I have made the Home Secretary aware of my views. These are not only my views, but those of the people of Lincolnshire who took part in my recent consultation.”

The proposed increase in the force’s precept is being made in light of “the Government’s position”, he said.

He said: “This will ensure that the Chief Constable and I are able to deliver our priorities of continuing to reduce crime, making sure police and services are there when needed and ensuring our communities feel they receive a fair deal from Lincolnshire Police. I am also reaffirming my commitment to maintain 1,100 police officers and 149 PCSOs.”

The Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel will consider Mr Hardwick’s precept proposal when they meet today.