Extra 12p to save frontline police
POLICE in Herts will cost Council Tax payers an extra 12 pence-a-week. The Herts Police Authority has decided to increase its share of the Council Tax by 4.99 per cent. And it says the rise is needed to protect frontline policing. Authority chairman Ian L
POLICE in Herts will cost Council Tax payers an extra 12 pence-a-week.
The Herts Police Authority has decided to increase its share of the Council Tax by 4.99 per cent.
And it says the rise is needed to protect frontline policing.
Authority chairman Ian Laidlaw-Dickson said: "This was a difficult decision to make."
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He said the rise was "justified" so the constabulary can provide an increased number of Neighbourhood Constables and Police Community Support Officer.
"The public continues to tell us that they want more officers on the streets," he said.
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Mr Laidlaw-Dickson continued that on deciding on this year's Council Tax demand the constabulary recognised it was facing a £3.5 million budget gap.
"We have worked closely with the constabulary to identify efficiencies and areas of service that can be reduced without impacting on frontline policing," he said.
But the budget situation has meant, too, that the authority is using £1.3 million from its reserves to safeguard policing services in the county.
"In future years this may not be an option and we do have great worries about how high the level of policing services that we have come to expect will be maintained in the coming years," said Mr Laidlaw-Dickson.
Chief constable Frank Whiteley said the situation will be "challenging".
"We will be working hard to meet increasing demands on policing in Herts and to minimise the impact of restricted resources and required savings."
He continued that it was recognised that the national financial position for police funding is likely to become "increasingly restricted" in the future.
Liberal Democrat police authority spokesman Michael Colne said: "We had no choice but to dip into our limited reserves to keep a good standard of policing.
"The only other option was to stretch our thin blue line even tighter under Government pressures.
The authority set its budget for 2007-08 at £171.4 million, an increase of £7.2 million on last year, of which £114.4 million comes from Government grants.
The authority also received a further capital grant from the Government of £1.5 million, which is £400,000 down on the previous year.
Spending of £15 million during the coming year will include the building of a new police station at Hatfield.