PCC ‘had no choice’ over precept rise

Dame Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner.
Dame Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Police and Crime Panel for Northumbria has approved an increase to the police precept of 10p per week for an average band D property.

This unanimous action followed public consultation, which was mainly complimentary about the police and supportive of the rise to its element of the council tax.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Dame Vera Baird, said: “The Government continues to cut police funding; since 2010, Northumbria has had to make £123million of cuts and efficiencies to manage the impact of government funding reductions. Despite Government claims, the only way our police budget will not be cut is if every PCC in the country raises their precept by the maximum amount possible.

“The Government is telling the 10 forces with the lowest police precept to increase by the sum of £5 per band D house per year and Northumbria is one of those forces.

“Residents have told me that they value neighbourhood policing and to ensure the police have the resources to cut crime and continue delivering excellent and effective neighbourhood policing for the people of Northumbria, I’m left with no choice but to raise the precept.

“Northumbria still has the lowest precept in the country at £65.55 per band A property and despite the tough cuts, local prudent financial planning has allowed us to recruit new police officers.

“We have asked the public for their views and I am pleased to say more than 80 per cent of responses accepted the need to invest in neighbourhood policing and expressed the view that an extra penny a day for a Band A property is a small increase to pay for that added security.”

Coun John McElroy, chairman of the Police and Crime Panel, said: “The panel is disappointed at having to approve an increase in the precept of this level, but we seem to have no alternative.

“It’s important that the PCC delivers the priorities of local residents, who have said loud and clear that they value neighbourhood policing.

“The precept funds will be invested to ensure our communities remain safe.”