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Tax Rise Call From Police Boss

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7:02am 13th November 2013

The man in charge of policing in Cornwall and Devon wants more money from our council tax.

Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg is warning the government more frontline cuts are on the cards unless budgets are eased.

He is calling for a rate rise of more than 2%, insisting taxpayers would back it.

Under current rules such an increase can not be brought in without a referendum.

Local authorities fear that would result in a resounding "no" vote from taxpayers and they would then be saddled with footing the bill for the vote.

In a letter sent to policing minister Damian Green this week the five south west PCCs express their concerns about the extra pressure being put on police budgets and warns of further cuts to policing numbers.
 
“In addition to grant reductions under the austerity programme we have recently faced a number of additional burdens,” the letter says.
 
“These include the direct imposition of higher costs in relation to national services such as PNC (police national computer). In addition, the growing use of ‘top slicing’ has the potential to divert more funds away from local policing.”
 
The letter asks Mr Green to consider greater involvement of PCCs when Government develops national initiatives which will have a big effect on local policing budgets.
 
It also asks that local authorities are allowed to raise council tax by more than two per cent without first holding a referendum. The letter states that the public would support such a move and that it would offset the costs to be imposed on local to expand the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which will have a direct effect on police officer numbers.
 
“The recent announcement of a further ‘top slice’ to meet the cost of expanding the Independent Police Complaints Commission (“IPCC”) is estimated in our region to require increases of up to three per cent in council tax to make good the potential funding reductions for IPCC and Innovation Fund,” the letter states.
 
“We appreciate the need to improve the national capability and the important role played by the IPCC. There needs to be a recognition that whilst funds will be diverted, a substantial work load will remain in force and will have to be locally funded.  This must, therefore, impact on local front line numbers or on the level of the local precept.”
 
This is not the first time Mr Hogg has raised the subject of local funding with the Government.
 
Early this summer he expressed his disappointment about Chancellor George Osborne’s police funding cuts of 5.75 per cent in 2014/15 and 4.9 per cent in 2015/16 which means that further savings and increased revenue will be needed to maintain police officer numbers at 3,090.
 
“People are well aware how hard I have fought to keep police on our streets, and last year took the decision to raise the council tax policing precept by two per cent to maintain numbers above 3,000,” said Mr Hogg.
 
“I have joined forces with the other PCCs in a united effort to get a rightful share of police funding which takes full account of our large region, the geographical contrasts within it, and the enormous strain on our resources.”

7:02am 13th November 2013

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