Police chief hits out at funding

Dame Vera Baird.
Dame Vera Baird.

The area’s top police official has hit out at the government as she proposes increasing tax precepts.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird says she is reluctantly asking members of the public to pay the equivalent of 46p extra a week – for a Band D property – to help fund local policing.

She has accused the government of moving the responsibility for the majority of this year’s settlement on to the public by allowing a local increase to the precept of up to £24 per year.

Dame Vera Baird said: “Local residents know that I firmly believe the government should pay to deliver policing. Sadly, Theresa May does not agree.

“In Northumbria we stretch every penny out of every pound. However, without significant additional investment, Northumbria Police would be unable to provide the current levels of service to our communities. We continue to make savings and efficiencies to direct money to the services that local residents want to see provided.

“I remain immensely frustrated that the financial burden has, once again, been passed to local taxpayers.”

She added: “I have recently met with the Chief Constable who agrees with me that savings must continue to be made so we can build our reserves and ensure we can deal with any unexpected emergencies throughout the year.

“Chief Constable Keenen and I will continue to seek further efficiency savings to ensure we can reinvest in the priorities that you set out in the Police and Crime Plan.”

Residents are being asked how the force should fund policing in the year ahead via www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/NPCouncilTaxFunding/

Alternatively, email enquiries@northumbria-pcc.gov.uk with your name and postcode, call 0191 221 9800, tweet @northumbriapcc using hashtag #Northumbriaconsultation, or write to Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, 2nd Floor Victory House, Balliol Business Park, Benton Lane, Newcastle, NE12 8EW.

The consultation will run until January 21.