COLUMN: Council tax rise will put police on streets

Many people associate January with good intentions and resolutions, inspired by the optimism of a fresh year ahead.

If you are one of those determined to make changes this year, I wish you every success.

But for those in policing and other public services, January is inextricably linked to the budget.

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It’s the month when we put the final figures into the budget for the coming financial year. It’s the time when we have to make tough decisions and work out how to make our expenditure meet public expectation as far as feasibly possible.

As you know, I have been at the forefront of the calls seeking more funding for policing.

Austerity has meant that in Nottinghamshire alone savings of £54m have had to be made over the past five years and the number of officers and PCSOs has reduced.

In December, the policing minister announced that the level of grant funding Nottinghamshire Police will receive from the Home Office will remain the same next year rather than reducing as planned. Extra money is being allocated nationally to counter-terrorism activity and the introduction of new technology.

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But, recognising that this alone will not plug the resources gap, the Government is advocating that the police precept – the amount of money raised locally via council tax – is raised by £1 a month for a Band D property in 2018/19.

At present the amount paid towards policing by a Band D household in Nottinghamshire is £183.42 per year. The Government’s plans mean this figure could rise by £12 to £195.42 next year (2018/19). However, most Mansfield and Ashfield residents will pay less than this as the majority of properties in the area are in a lower band.

The increase would see Nottinghamshire Police receiving around £4 million more than this year, followed by a similar increase of £4 million in 2019-20.

It won’t resolve all our financial problems, but it is a welcome step in the right direction.

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At the end of this month, I will present my budget for policing Nottinghamshire to the members of the Police and Crime Panel for their scrutiny and approval. This will include the details around how the extra money will be used, how it will help to enhance policing in Nottinghamshire.

While preparing these plans we have to take into account the changing nature of criminality such as the threat of terrorist attacks, cyber-crime, serious sexual violence; child sexual exploitation; historic abuse and other hidden crimes. But we also need to protect local policing, the bedrock of policing in this country.

I can assure you that I know how important police visibility is to people and I’m pleased to say that if the precept increase is agreed the extra money raised will help us to recruit more police officers.

The aim is to increase police numbers from 1,840 today to approaching 2,000 over the next two years.

Community confidence is vital.

People want to feel safe in their homes and in their neighbourhoods .

We are doing everything we can to achieve this.