Decision day over how much council tax you will pay to Norfolk’s police
People will today learn just how much of their money they will be asked to hand over to pay for Norfolk’s police force over the next 12 months.
Lorne Green, the Conservative police and crime commissioner for Norfolk, will present his proposals for the forthcoming year’s police budget at a meeting of the police and crime panel at County Hall on Tuesday (February 5) morning.
Mr Green will reveal which of the four options for council tax which he had consulted on he wants to pursue - which range from a freeze to increasing council tax by an extra £8, £12 or £24 a year for a Band D property.
His report, which will go before the police and crime panel - made up of county, district, city and borough councillors and independent members - does not reveal Mr Green’s preferred option.
But his office and chief constable Simon Bailey will present the implications on policing. That includes a warning that a freeze on the share of council tax to the police would mean the force would have to find £5m more savings in 2019/20, on top of £2m already identified.
That, the report states, would mean a reduction of the equivalent of 90 police officers, while 45 would be lost amid £2.6m of savings if council tax only rose by 3.46pc (£8 a year).
A 6.95pc increase (£16 a year) would still mean £300,000 of savings would need to be found, the report states, while a 10.45pc increase (£24 a year) means 40 extra police officers/detectives could be provided, along with better technology.
That is the biggest increase which would be allowable without triggering a referendum.
Mr Green said: “The decision has implications for the Norfolk public on two counts – first, through the amount of police service funding coming directly from their pockets and, second, through the level to which their police force is funded and the service it is able to deliver to them.
“On that basis, I felt it vital that all Norfolk residents had the opportunity to have their say. I am very grateful to all who took part in the consultation.
“The chief constable has set out very clearly what the different consultation options, including a freeze at last year’s levels, would mean for Norfolk’s policing service.
“He has said that a precept freeze would, inevitably, lead to police officer and staff reductions. At the other end of the scale, he has also said that, were I to raise the council tax by the maximum amount of 46p a week, this would allow significant investment in the force, including the addition of 40 extra officers.”
Norfolk police last year abolished all of its police and community support officers (PCSOs), with Mr Bailey saying it was the right decision.
The loss of the PCSOs allowed the force to recruit new police officers, with some of the former PCSOs taking those roles.
The police and crime panel can choose to support Mr Green’s council tax precept, agree not to support it but stop short of vetoing it, or they can veto it.
If they do veto it, then the commissioner would need to return later in the month with a revised precept proposal.
Council tax bills are made of amounts which go to the police, county councils, city, borough or district councils and, in some parts of Norfolk, town or parish councils.
Norfolk County Council will set its budget next week and is planning on a 2.99pc increase, which will add £39.51 a year to a Band D property.