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Panel backs council tax rise


Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Panel unanimously backed Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Chris Nelson’s plans for a 4.41% increase in council tax.

Mr. Nelson told panel members it would help build on the progress the Constabulary has made over the last year, emerging from ‘enhanced monitoring’ by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and allow for continued improvement in the future.

A 4.41% increase works out at 25 pence per week and will add £13 to an average band D householder’s annual bill for policing services, taking the total to £308.08, or just over £25 per month. Though most will pay less as they are in lower banded properties.

Mr. Nelson said, “The last 12 months have been extremely busy. Adjusting the way the Constabulary works to provide a better service to the public; and then coming out of the police equivalent of ‘special measures’ in record time, involved a massive amount of work. 

“That success could not have been achieved without the continued expansion of the force, and over my three years in office I have funded over 400 extra police officers, police community support officers and front-line police staff. These increases, although very much welcomed by the force inevitably puts pressure on the budget – in fact, the Chief Constable would have liked double the number to meet rising crime demands and his desire for improved performance.

“Last Autumn, two thirds of residents in our perception of crime survey felt that the Constabulary needed more money to address their concerns about crime. That’s why I have worked tirelessly during my term of office to attract almost £15m in extra Government grants and other funding, which has helped to reduce sexual violence, domestic abuse, anti-social behaviour and other crimes in both our urban and rural areas. We have also continued a programme of work to improve the productivity and efficiency of the Constabulary, to ensure that we are getting the maximum value for local taxpayers’’ money. 

“Sadly – and regrettably as household budgets continue to be squeezed – continuing increased costs have meant we need to seek the maximum increase in council tax allowed by the Government, just like the vast majority of other commissioners and councils to balance the budget.

 “I will continue to hold the Constabulary to account to ensure it provides value for money through quality service to the public”

The cost of policing in Gloucestershire is split almost equally between the Government and local tax payers, with 53% of its funding coming through central taxation and 47% through council tax.

The Budget for 2024/25, which covers the period April 24 – March 25, will provide the resources to deliver the Police and Crime Prevention Plan, which is the PCC’s blueprint for policing the county.

When the PCC’s office conducted a survey asking the public for its perception of crime in their communities, 68% of those who responded said the police were under-funded.

Many wanted to see more spent on tackling drug dealing, burglary, anti-social behaviour, speeding, street drinking, rural crime and organised crime, and the PCC has committed to ensure that neighbourhood policing is supported to deliver on these priorities.

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