Reader Letter: Why is Norfolk the fourth most expensive police force despite reduced presence?
In the EDP of November 29, the police and crime commissioner floated the idea of a potential 12pc increase in council tax for Norfolk's police.
Whilst seeking election last year he is quoted a saying “piling on more taxes when we already pay the fourth highest police taxes in the country will be a last resort once all other options are fully explored” whatever that was meant to mean.
Then again, who would stand on a pile of pallets shouting “vote for me and I will smash the cap” ?
Norfolk Constabulary first came into being in the 1960s and was run by Norfolk County Council until the mid 1990s.
In 1995/6, the police precept was £45 for a band D house.
Today it is £217, almost five times as much. It took 30 years to get to £45, but just over 20 years to jump to today’s figure. Over the same period of time, the state pension has only doubled.
The state pension for new pensioners will be £8,000, whereas a police officer costs £43,000 (according to the BBC). A police employee retiring at 50 gets an average £18,000 per year constabulary pension and a £160,000 lump sum, according to the same source.
The EDP has previously reported the average annual wage in Norfolk at £20,000.
Obviously modern policing is very different to the past, we are told, with a very much reduced police presence on our streets, e.g. in Cromer or anywhere in rural Norfolk, which really doesn’t explain why Norfolk is the fourth most expensive police force in the country.
In contrast, people in Brent pay about the same as we do for their police, but they have three officers for every one in Norfolk.
In spite of raising an extra £50 million council tax compared to 20 years ago, we have much the same number of police now as we did then. There are some 4,000 police per million people in London.
In Norfolk we have just 1,500 covering 877,000 of us.
Seems Norfolk is yet again getting a very poor deal from the government in Westminster when it comes to state funding compared to other parts of the UK, consequently we have to chip in more than those struggling Londoners via our council tax bills.
David Holland, Litcham.