Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick has welcomed this morning’s decision by the Police and Crime Panel to approve his proposal to increase the 2015/16 Police Precept by 1.95 per cent.
“I am delighted at the unanimous vote by the Police and Crime Panel this morning to approve the 1.95 per cent increase in the police precept which I had proposed,” he said. “This means that my pledge to keep 1100 front line officers and 149 PCSO’s can continue to be honoured: neighbourhood Policing will not be under threat and I am delighted,” said Mr Hardwick.
The rise will mean a weekly increase for a Band D Council Tax payer of 7 pence (£3.78 a year).
Mr Hardwick said the provisional grant announcement by Government was disappointing. “I have written to the Home Secretary expressing my dissatisfaction with the way in which the funding available has been allocated and setting out clearly the approach that the Home Office should take to provide a fair funding deal for the people of Lincolnshire.”
But Mr Hardwick said he was encouraged by the ongoing dialogue he and the Chief Constable were having with the Home Office.
“We continue to be in dialogue with the Home Office and the Policing Minister about funding for the force and look forward to welcoming a team of his officials to see the way we work and then later, both the Police Minister and the Home Secretary have accepted our invitations to visit Lincolnshire Police and see for themselves the way we police,” he said. “If other forces policed like us the Government could save hundreds of millions of pounds without having to cut us back year after year.”
Mr Hardwick said there was another positive result of the interaction with the Government. “The Chief Constable Neil Rhodes has been invited by the Policing Minister to the top table, the ‘Gold Group’ which discusses the police funding formula and is chaired by the Minister. I am pleased we have persuaded the Government to listen to us. Everyone is now listening to us – the Government are listening, the Home Secretary is listening, the Police Minister is listening. We are being taken seriously. We are a force to be reckoned with in saving money,” he said.
Deputy Chief Constable of the force, Heather Roach attended the Police and Crime Panel Meeting and also welcomed the agreement to raise the precept. “Although the rise is quite small it goes some way towards funding the commitment of the Police and Crime Commissioner to maintain 1100 front line officers and 149 PCSOs,” she said.
“Our invitations to the Home Secretary and the Policing Minister to visit the force have been accepted and ahead of that we will be welcoming a team of Home Office officials to examine the way we police and whether in the short term we are eligible for a special Government grant. We have balanced the budget for the financial year ahead but there is the prospect of a £4.5 million deficit in 2016/17 unless further funding is found,” said Mrs Roach.