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Commissioner launches Council Tax Precept Consultation

Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall is seeking the views of the people of Cumbria to help to maintain and improve policing services which includes an increase in the policing part of the council tax.

The police council tax precept is an essential part of the council tax that contributes alongside a central government grant to the total funding available to provide policing, community safety and victims’ services.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall said: “Over the last three years working with the Chief Constable and with your support as council tax payers, we have been able to improve the policing service here in Cumbria and make a real difference in tackling crime in our communities.

“Funding for policing does not all come from government grant alone and it is not enough to allow us to recruit further officers, deploy dedicated officers  into the community where you want to see them, and pay for our existing service, without an increase in council tax.  The government has recognised this and is allowing Police and Crime Commissioners to increase the council tax precept by up to £15 per year for a Band D property.

“I realise that many families and businesses are facing financial uncertainty, especially here in Cumbria where we are heavily reliant on the tourism and hospitality sector.  However, I do know that we need safe communities in order to be prosperous communities too and a strong performing police service has never been so much needed.  I do not believe it is right in these circumstances to ask you to pay the full increase of £15 per year for a band D.  I am aware that most areas across the country are intending to apply the full £15 charge, but I am proposing an increase of 55p a month, for many it will be less.  I hope that you will feel able to support this to maintain and improve the strong service given by Cumbria Police.

“The Chief Constable has requested an increase in council tax precept to maintain and more importantly, further improve our existing service by expanding the police presence and physically basing more officers in rural communities, develop and improve how you contact the force and continue to improve safeguarding children and the most vulnerable.

Chief Constable Michelle Skeer comments: “2020 has been very challenging both personally and professionally, for us all as we adapt to health guidance, regulations and changing the way we do things as we try to keep ourselves, our families, our friends and our communities safe. I don’t underestimate the impact that this global health pandemic has had and continues to have on everyone.

“We have carefully scrutinised our budget to see if we can continue our plan of delivering an excellent policing service without having to request additional funding from you, but unfortunately we can’t do this without having to cut the policing service we deliver.

“Reluctantly, I have asked our Police and Crime Commissioner for an additional 55p a month (for band D properties). This is the minimum amount we need to enable us to cover our increasing costs and continue to deliver our plan and provide an excellent policing service to our local communities.

“Community policing is at the heart of what we do and despite the challenges this year, I am pleased that we have managed to continue our plan to have dedicated officers deployed in our rural communities. We have seen them in smaller towns such as: Alston, Ambleside, Appleby, Brampton, Dalton, Keswick, Kirkby Stephen, Longtown, Millom, Wigton, Windermere. These officers are making a big difference already, tackling local issues and proactively preventing crime. We have plans to introduce more dedicated officers to Ulverston and other areas, in 2021, whilst maintaining our policing operations in the larger urban centres, but we need additional funding for this to happen.

“Listening to what our communities are saying, developing our public contact services is a priority for 2021, so people can contact an officer at a time and method that’s convenient for them, this is something we must invest in and deliver.

“Protecting and safeguarding those who need our help and support is a priority for everyone in Cumbria Constabulary. This past year we have seen an increase in people needing our help to keep them safe, including an increase in mental health related incidents, it is vital we continue to invest and develop services in this area, again the additional 55p a month (for a band D property) will enable us to do this.

“This year has seen my Officers spending a considerable amount of time supporting this global health emergency, overcoming huge challenges personally and professionally. We have also had to deal with the “normal” day to day policing issues that continually threaten our local communities such as cross-border crime, safeguarding and protecting those who are most vulnerable, managing dangerous offenders as well as proactively tackling policing issues in your local communities.

“I hope that the public continue to support us at Cumbria Constabulary, so that we can continue to improve our service to our communities and keep Cumbria safe.”

Link to survey: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/TND7OX/

The survey will close at 5pm on 26 January 2021 and paper copies of this survey can be obtained by ringing 01768 217734 or emailing commissioner@cumbria-pcc.gov.uk

 

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