Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens has launched a survey seeking local people’s views on an increase in the policing part of the council tax.
Local policing is funded by a combination of Home Office and other grants, as well as council tax contributions.
The Home Office grant has been frozen for next year but the Government has announced that PCCs can raise the policing part of the council tax next April by 6.6%, equivalent to £15 per year for an average band D household.
A £15 increase, approximately £1.25 per month, would mean additional investment could be made in your police service to tackle the crimes which affect victims the most.
If the policing part of the council tax is not increased, Avon and Somerset Police would have to make significant savings which would result in a reduction of police services.
PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “I know that any increase in household bills is felt by local people and after this extraordinary year, an increase is any bills is an even bigger ask. The pandemic has had a huge economic impact on our communities and has affected many people’s finances; the decision to raise the policing part of the council tax will not be taken lightly. I want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to share their opinion before I make this difficult decision.
“Following a recent poll, 40% of local people told me they would like to see officers enforce the coronavirus restrictions more. I understand local people’s frustrations with those who continue to flout the rules but in order to improve visibility and results, we need to have resources. I have to balance the challenges facing policing, the increased threat from criminality, local people’s views and the safety of residents.”
“Whatever your view or opinion, I would encourage to fill out this survey, it is only by making sure your voice is heard that I can truly understand the views of local people.”
Last year, the Government gave PCCs the flexibility to raise the policing part of the council tax by £10 per year (for an average band D household), local people who completed last year’s survey supported this increase, which has gone towards recruiting 75 police investigators who will focus on improving outcomes for victims.
Sue added: “Following last year’s rise we are on track to recruit additional police investigators to improve outcomes for victims and ensure we continue to give them a voice.”
The PCC is encouraging local people to ensure their voice is heard in policing by filling out her online survey.