Extra £1 a month for policing?
RESIDENTS are being asked whether they are prepared to pay an extra £1 a month towards policing from next April.
Last year the Government unexpectedly gave all police and crime commissioners (PCCs) across the country the flexibility to raise the policing part of the council tax by an additional £1 a month for the average band D household.
Sue Mountstevens is hoping that PCCs will be given that flexibility again this year and says priority will be in tackling serious violent crime, burglary and drug gangs.
"With last year’s £1 rise we were able to start an ambitious programme of recruitment and commit to employing up to 300 police officers. We were also able to protect neighbourhood policing, the police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) in your local area, all thanks to your support for the rise.
"The Chief Constable and I have agreed that next year’s focus will concentrate on serious violence. The threat from serious and organised crime has changed rapidly, increasing in both volume and complexity and preying on the most vulnerable in society.
"If we are able to increase the policing part of the council tax by £1 a month next year and the Government grant for policing stays the same and there are no additional surprises we are committed to a new focus on burglary and drugs. We must continue to dismantle the recruitment of vulnerable young people into ‘county lines’ drugs gangs. It’s clear that this leads to an increase in knife-crime and serious violence, including stabbings and gang-related disorder and it must be tackled and given the right resources."
The main source of police funding is from the government with further income being raised through council tax bills. This year (2018/19), Bristol City Council, on behalf of the PCC, asked Band D householders to pay £193.81 for policing.
Ms Mountstevens said it is difficult to ask for extra money in the current climate and urged people to get in touch with their thoughts on what they would be prepared to pay.
"I absolutely recognise that any increase in household bills will be felt by residents and it’s not easy to keep asking local people to contribute to the issues that we are facing in policing and as a society. It’s really important that residents tell me what they would be prepared to pay. These are difficult decisions and I need to be sure that I have heard from as many local people as possible."
Ms Mountstevens is asking for people’s views in an online survey on her website www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk which closes at midnight on January 14, 2019.
For further information or to request a copy of the survey please call 01278 646188.