Plan for funding Lancashire police
Presenting his plan to the panel, which includes councillors from across Lancashire, the Commissioner outlined plans to increase the council tax precept by £12 per year, or 23p per week on an average property in 2018/19, safeguarding local police jobs across the county.
This follows a consultation with the public where over 78% of those who responded supported increasing the council tax precept by at least 23p per week.
Mr Grunshaw outlined the budget pressures facing the force following the Government’s pre-Christmas funding announcement failed to deliver any extra funding for policing in Lancashire. This follows years of shrinking budgets which have seen Lancashire Constabulary make savings of over £72 million since 2010, with an estimated £17 million in further savings to find by 2022.
On the proposed increase, Mr Grunshaw said: “While the Government highlighted the need for additional resources for policing, they failed to provide any extra money for Lancashire in their latest funding announcement.
“Residents who took part in my consultation have indicated clearly that they want to see money invested in the police with a large majority supporting my proposed changes. These will add an estimated £5million to the policing budget in Lancashire and protect some roles that otherwise would have been under threat.
“I don’t agree that Council Tax is the best or fairest way to fund the police. Areas with similar budgets to Lancashire, like Essex and Sussex, are able to raise 40-50% more than we can with exactly the same increase in the precept. However, as this is the only tool available to me to ensure there aren’t further cuts to our policing budget, this has to be the course we take.
“Demand on the policing service continues to increase and it is disappointing that the Government have not responded to this with central funding, instead passing the buck onto local taxpayers. This is not the answer to the funding of policing – it is a short term, unsustainable fix which papers over some of the cracks caused by years of austerity.”
Chief Constable Andy Rhodes said: “We are extremely grateful to the public for their continued support. This increase in council tax will help to ease the pressures of police budget cuts and maintain police officer and PCSO numbers and I would reassure the public that we will continue to work with the Commissioner to protect front line services and deliver further efficiencies and deliver savings where possible.”