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Another massive hike in our police tax?

January 9, 2020 9:02 AM
By Wiltshire Police

In previous years I've supported the increases in Council Tax by the Police and Crime Comissioner, as our local police force was clearly suffering from central government cuts. That was despite those increases being hugely above inflation, and being added to the Council Tax, which is a very unfair way of collecting tax as it disproportionately hits those on lower incomes.

However we now have a new government which has promised to clean up the mess left by the previous administration and to improve funding for local services including the police, so this year it's time to pause the CT increases and see how that works out.

However the PCC clearly doesn't trust the govrenment promises as he's asking for another big increase - albeit only half as much as last year's. Here's his press release, which includes a link for you to tell him what you think. No notice will be taken of the survey results, but it's still worth doing.

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Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Wiltshire and Swindon Angus Macpherson is asking members of the public for their feedback on a proposed £12 per year increase to maintain local policing.

Please give your views on the proposed increase via our short online survey.

The policing precept, which is collected with your council tax, goes directly to the PCC where 98% is allocated to Wiltshire Police's Chief Constable and the remaining 2% to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for commissioned services such as Horizon Victim Support and Restorative Together.

PCC Angus Macpherson, said: "Currently, each Band D property pays £206 per year or £17 per month, towards policing services. This year, in order to maintain this, I believe, at a minimum, I need to increase the cost per month by £1. This would leave the average family paying £218 per year.

"Last year, with your support, I promised to recruit 41 more officers and 2 dedicated cyber-crime staff.

"I have recruited these officers; they are now in training and will be joining your community policing teams soon. Our capacity to deal with digital investigations has also increased, and in line with global trends, will need to continue to do so in the future.
"On average at present, it takes around three years to recruit, train and post new officers and we doubled the number of trainees in last October's intake to accommodate the additional officers I promised.

"The Government's commitment to recruit an additional 20,000 officers provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen the police nationally.

"In the first year, 6000 additional officers will be recruited nationally and 49 of those will be in Wiltshire. I expect this to be fully funded by the Government.

"However, this is not a quick fix and we still need to make savings in other areas across the Force to meet increased costs such as inflation, national pay awards and increased demand.

"In order to maintain services at their current level, I need to protect both officer and staff numbers. I can only do this if funding allows. With your support in this increase in council tax and the national increase in officers, we will increase officers from 979 to 1028. It will also protect the 131 PCSOs and 991 staff members across the Force.

"Under the current formula, we have the third lowest funding per head of population in England and Wales. For five years, I have pressed for a review and hope a strong Government will now address this inequality.

"I am still waiting to hear from the Home Office on the detail of our settlement for the next financial year, but in the meantime, I want to hear your views on my proposed increase. You can do this by visiting my website or my social media pages".

The consultation will run until midday on Friday 31 January.

To share your views please click the survey link at the start of this article or visit my website, Facebook or Twitter.