Commissioner outlines police council tax precept plan

  • GOVERNMENT SLASHES £100M FROM POLICE BUDGET
  • TONY OUTLINES  10p PLAN TO HELP PROTECT COMMUNITIES
  • HAVE YOUR SAY HERE

Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner is asking residents to contribute an extra £5 to the region’s policing budget this year to help mitigate massive budget cuts imposed by central Government.

The increase amounts to less than 10 pence extra per week for the average Band D property.

Since 2010, GMP has lost a quarter of its budget, with the government taking more than £100m – with much more still to be cut.

Each year the service is losing 350 police officers as GMP struggles to cope with the ongoing programme of austerity. In total, more than 1,100 officers have gone since 2010.

To help mitigate this, and protect neighbourhood policing in Greater Manchester’s communities, Tony has proposed a small increase to the police element of their council tax bill.

But Tony issued a stark warning – if policing cuts continue beyond 2017, GMP will not be able to maintain its service to the public.

“I have warned since before I was elected that the government’s reckless programme of cuts is endangering community safety,” Tony said.

“We are now standing at the edge of a cliff. The Chief Constable has told me that he cannot provide the levels of policing that Greater Manchester people expect and deserve if this programme of cuts goes beyond 2017. There simply will not be enough money in the pot.

“We have all done our bit – Greater Manchester Police has transformed the way it provides its services and will continue to drive efficiencies; the service is working much better with other partner agencies to save money and improve services; I have saved nearly half a million pounds from my own office’s budget compared to the previous police authority regime; and now I’m asking residents to make a modest additional contribution in the coming year.

“But where is government in all this? We’ve done what we can locally, but it seems that George Osborne is intent on ploughing on regardless with his ruthless and ideologically-driven programme of reckless cuts.

“In the meantime, I will do the best I can to mitigate these cuts and that’s why I’m asking Greater Manchester people to play their part. I know that times are tough, but I believe most people will recognise that £5 extra – that’s just 10 pence more a week – is a fair price to pay to help protect our neighbourhoods.”

The increase will generate about £3.3m, which Tony has promised will be spent on neighbourhood policing.

It means that, for the average Band D property, the police element of your council tax bill will rise from £149.33 to £154.33.

Tony will use all of the additional money to support neighbourhood policing teams. For example, 50 new police officers will be recruited to neighbourhood teams, which means that in the coming year GMP will lose 300, and not 350 officers. He has also pledged that there will be no reductions in the numbers of PCSOs.

Even after the increase, the police element of your council tax bill will be amongst the lowest in the country.

Tony is now inviting residents to say if they agree with the proposals, and asking them to share their experiences of what the cuts mean in their local area. You can take part by visiting www.gmpcc.org.uk/budget

A series of events will also take place in each district across Greater Manchester for residents to give their views.

All these plans are dependent on central Government giving clarity on what flexibility it is willing to give Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales over precept-setting.

Despite the requirement for Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Panel to consider Tony’s proposals before the end of the month – the Government has refused so far to issue the guidance.

This leaves the panel and Tony in the ridiculous situation of having to make a decision on something – without knowing what Tony will be able to do.

The Greater Manchester Police and Crime Panel will discuss Tony’s proposal at its meeting on Friday 31 January.

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