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Northamptonshire PCC Adam Simmonds announces 7p council tax increase

Wootton Hall, Police HQ, Mereway. Safest place in the country conference with  Adrian Lee and Adam Simmonds.

Wootton Hall, Police HQ, Mereway. Safest place in the country conference with Adrian Lee and Adam Simmonds.

Police and crime commissioner Adam Simmonds has announced a 7p a week increase in the amount of council tax people in Northamptonshire pay for policing.

Mr Simmonds said he was planning a council tax rise of 1.99 per cent from April 1 which he said would put Northamptonshire Police in a stronger position to meet future savings needs and fund a number of improvements.

No public consultation will be held on the plans as Government guidance to local authorities, fire authorities and police crime commissioners is that they must have a referendum if council tax is increased by two per cent or more.

He said: “We are faced with a Government requirement to reduce police spending here by some £20m over the next four years.

“And government rules effectively put a cap of two per cent on rises in the amount of council tax to pay for policing.

“So from April I am planning a rise which will put Northamptonshire Police in a stronger position to meet future savings needs as well as bringing several improvements.”

Mr Simmonds said the extra money raised would enable the chief constable to have “fewer managers and instead more constables on the streets and in the countryside.”

The commissioner said it would also enable the police force to set up a new service for victims of crime and witnesses and continue the drive to cut violent crime.

Mr Simmonds said the rise was backed by a survey by Northamptonshire Police of more than 2,000 people in the county. He said the results of the survey showed that 74 per cent of respondants said they would be happy to pay the extra 7p a week council tax for the police force.

Mr Simmonds said: “People also told us they want to see more efficiency and less waste. When asked where Northamptonshire Police could reduce waste or make savings, the most commonly selected options were ‘reducing bureaucracy and administration’ and ‘moving police officers from back office to frontline’, selected by over half of respondents.

“More than a third selected ‘working more closely with other organisations’ and around a quarter selected ‘using more technology’, ‘reducing management costs including jobs’ and ‘increasing the use of volunteers’.

“So I want to see all this happen. Most of all I want over the next year to see more constables on our streets and in our villages, adding to the 900 special constables we are recruiting this year. I want to maintain the current numbers of police community support officers.

“And I want to see victims and witnesses getting the services and support they deserve from the police and criminal justice system. Also I want the already successful drive to cut violent crime continue.

“This budget balances my ambition to improve policing in Northamptonshire with the need for financial prudence and will I believe deliver all those things.

Mr Simmonds said he was also investing £450,000 in a new Local Solutions Fund working with local councils on crime and anti-social behaviour. He said: “I will be developing large-scale campaigns for 2014 to influence attitudes and behaviours. This will include campaigns to reduce violence and alcohol harm, improve the environment and help stimulate growth.

“We will work closely with local bodies and other local agencies to deliver these campaigns to the right scale and impact to make a significant difference for people who live and work in Northamptonshire.”

 

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