There is a week left for residents to have their say on an increase in the police element of the council tax by £2 a month* (the equivalent for a band D property) by completing the survey released by Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld.
On Thursday 13th December the Home Secretary announced the provisional police funding settlement for 2019/20.
In response to the exceptional operational demands on the police, particularly in areas such as Thames Valley, the Government is increasing the funding available to Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) by up to £813 million.
However, this is provided all PCCs increase the police portion of the council tax by £2 a month or £24 a year (equivalent for a Band D property), which, collectively, will raise £509 million of the £813 million increase in funding.
To view the consultation and have your say, visit: http://sgiz.eu/s3/Policing-budget-council-tax-2019-20
The consultation says:
"We am proposing to increase council tax by £24 for a Band D household and will ensure that all the extra cash generated from council taxpayers will be spent on operational policing. The draft budget for 2019/20 will provide additional funding to:
"Increase Local Frontline Policing – we will recruit additional officers and staff to respond to increasing crime demand and complexity and the impact of the reduction in the resources of and services provided by other agencies (particularly in the areas of mental health and children’s safeguarding).
"Improve our investigation capacity and process - stretched resources are operating in an increasingly expanding and complex environment with investigations at all levels growing in size and complexity.
"There has been an increase in organised crime which exploits the vulnerable as well as cyber enabled crime fraud and economic crime. We will recruit more investigators and invest in appropriate new technology and tools.
"Improve Contact Management – the rise in demand and the complexity of that demand have increased the length of time it takes to assess the threat, harm and risk and ensure every call receives the appropriate response. We will reduce call handling times, particularly for 101 calls, by recruiting additional staff to deal with the additional demand and more complex crime and incidents being reported.
"Increasing our digital capability – we will exploit the modern platforms we have been investing in through the development of operational designed tools, expanding our mobile capability and improving connectivity will allow officers and staff to maximise the use of online digital applications facilitating the fast access and transfer of data, while investing in Intelligence technologies will improve the efficiency of transactional processes.
"Sustainable funding for the capital programme – to ensure the long term financial stability of the force we have to provide revenue support to the capital programme to ensure that we can continue to invest in new technology and other infrastructure projects in future years."
Anthony Stansfeld said: “The Thames Valley Police budget has been cut by £101 million over the last eight years which has resulted in significant cuts to police officer and staff numbers.
"This year the Government has encouraged all PCCs to raise the policing element of the council tax precept for all households. To prevent further damaging cuts to policing and restore some important frontline policing capability I would like to make use of this Government advice and raise the council tax precept accordingly.
“My focus for the future continues to be on delivering strong neighbourhood policing for all of the communities across the Thames Valley whilst addressing the serious threats and hardship posed by criminals.
"With this in mind the extra cash generated from the proposed increase in council tax will be spent on operational policing. The draft budget for 2019/20 includes additional funding to increase local frontline policing, recruitment of more investigators and to improve contact management with the aim to reduce call waiting times on 101 calls.”