Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Clive Loader has launched a new survey asking residents how much they are prepared to pay towards policing.
Sir Clive and Leicestershire Police are keen to gather the views of the public ahead of his 2016-17 budget decisions.
The commissioner is determined to set a precept that is in line with local people’s wishes and is encouraging residents across the county to make their views known by taking part in the survey in person or online.
He has outlined three options for next year’s council tax precept and is asking the public to tell him which they prefer.
Sir Clive says the first is to freeze council tax at the current rate which means that the force would need to find a further £1.1m in savings above those already planned - the equivalent of a reduction of about 20 police officers - although alternative ways of making the savings would be sought.
The second option is to increase council tax by one and a half per cent which would mean a band D household would have to pay an extra five pence per week (£2.70 per year). This would bring the savings burden down to £250,000 - the equivalent of a reduction of about five police officers.
The final option is to increase the precept by two percent - the maximum level that can be set before triggering a referendum. This would increase the average household council tax bill for policing by an extra seven pence per week (£3.58 per year). Sir Clive says this would be in line with the Government’s Spending Review and would not necessitate the finding of any cuts beyond those already planned.
The feedback generated through the survey, combined with the finalised Government funding levels, will help inform the commissioner when he comes to set the policing portion of the council tax bill for 2016/17.
Launching the survey, Sir Clive said: “Having received the provisional funding settlement, it is certainly better than we expected earlier in the year but this position is predicated to some extent on local taxpayers contributing an additional two per cent through an increase to their council tax contributions. The exact details of the provisional settlement will be worked through during the next few weeks.
“As ever, difficult decisions will have to be made to ensure we continue to provide a policing response in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland that meets people’s expectations. This is why it is imperative local people take part in the survey and tell me exactly how much they would like to pay towards achieving this.
“Every year our budget shrinks while pressures on our services continue to increase and change. It’s important the public understands the challenges we face and plays their part in helping us to resolve them. I want to hear what local residents have to say before I make any decision on next year’s precept.”
Currently, an average band D householder in the county pays 49.3p per day (£180 per year) towards policing.
Sir Clive is continuing to work with Chief Constable Simon Cole to identify cost savings and minimise the tax burden on local residents.
The survey can be completed by visiting: https://www.neighbourhoodlink.co.uk/3627F482-2523-444F-A3BD-33C934590D37/QuickRegister