PCC Lorne Green will soon have to decide whether to increase or freeze the policing element of council tax to fund next year’s policing service, and he wants to know what the Norfolk public thinks.
By law, the PCC can only raise policing council tax by a maximum of just under 2% – a cap fixed by central government.
But, as well as giving Norfolk’s communities the chance to vote for a freeze or a 2% rise for 2018/19, for the first time Lorne will be asking if they would be willing to pay even more if the central government cap is lifted – a possibility in mid-December.
“What I am asking is do you support a freeze, keeping policing council tax at last year’s level or do you support a rise? And, if so, please tell me the maximum amount you would be prepared to pay,” said Lorne.
“I am now 18 months into my work as your PCC and, during my time in office, I have become increasingly aware of just how challenging the financial situation is for policing in our county.
“Grant funding from central government continues to reduce year on year but policing costs are increasing, along with demands for service. If austerity continues, Norfolk Constabulary will need to make cuts of between £2 million and £3 million every year just to cover inflation. The Government has made it clear it expects me to increase the policing element of council tax by the maximum I can to help bridge the gap. That budget gap in 2018/19 is estimated to be £6.8 million.
“The Chief Constable has recently announced a new policing model for Norfolk which he says will ensure the Force is best placed to tackle the biggest threats to the safety of our communities, while also maintaining neighbourhood policing and being more sustainable in the current financial climate. He also says, however, that further difficult decisions will be needed to balance the 2018/19 policing budget.
“I, along with other PCCs, have been lobbying central government to look again at police funding and lift the council tax limit above the 2% maximum. This would allow PCCs more flexibility to set council tax levels in response to funding challenges and local policing needs.
“To help inform my budget decision if that were to happen, I would like to know what you would be prepared to pay next year for policing in Norfolk.
“Some 58% of Norfolk’s policing budget is funded by central government, meaning your council tax makes up the rest so I want all Norfolk residents to have the opportunity to have their say.”
You can have your say now by taking the online survey at www.norfolk-pcc.gov.uk.
You can also share your views by telephone on 01953 424455, by email to TellLorne@norfolk.pnn.police.uk, or by writing to the PCC at OPCCN, Building 8, Falconers Chase, Wymondham, NR18 0WW.