Commissioner asks the public their view on budget proposals

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Peter McCall is responsible for setting the policing element of council tax each year, and today opens the council tax precept consultation, asking for public feedback on a choice of budget proposals for Cumbria Constabulary 2023-2024.

Each year, Cumbria Constabulary is part funded by government grants and the rest is funded by residents of Cumbria, through what is called the police council tax precept, and together this provides funds for policing and keeping us all safe.

PCC Peter McCall comments: “Setting the council tax precept level for policing is never easy and in the current financial climate is very challenging.

“I am fully aware of the pressure that the cost-of-living crisis is placing on people across our county. This pressure has a direct impact on the running costs of the police and in order to maintain the high-quality service provided each day, we are faced with no alternative but to increase council tax precept (the funding which equates to 40% of the Constabularys total budget).

“I am asking for your views on the portion of council tax you are prepared to pay to fund local policing and fighting crime across Cumbria. Nationally, inflation is at sitting at around 10.7% and the government funding settlement effectively compels that I must increase council tax precept to £15 per year, not to do so would require unpalatable cuts in service which I know the public do not want. Therefore, I am reluctantly proposing that the council tax is raised by £15 (£1.25 a month) to alleviate some of the inflation pressures on the budget. An increase of £15 is a 5.3% rise but is still significantly below national inflation levels and savings will still have to be found within Policing.

“Our police force continues to be highly effective in keeping people safe, tackling crime and being there when we need them, together with the Chief Constable I am determined we must continue to deliver that essential service. I know any increase in precept is unwelcome but we need to continue to invest in our police service to further reduce crime, have greater visibility of Police in our communities and deliver a safer Cumbria for our families.” 

Chief Constable Michelle Skeer, Cumbria Constabulary comments: “The contribution made by our communities, via their council tax precept, has enabled us in recent years to maintain and invest in our policing service to keep people safe and robustly tackle crime.

“It is therefore with great reluctance that we ask for this necessary increase in precept at a time where many people in our county are experiencing significant pressure due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

“Our officers and staff are working incredibly hard each day to deliver a policing service that successfully meets the needs of our communities. We have recruited additional officers, increased our proactivity and visibility in communities, secured justice for victims of crime and extended resources in unseen elements of policing. 

“I am proud that Cumbria remains a high-performing police force, which has been graded as GOOD by our inspectorate.

“I hope the public continue to support Cumbria Constabulary to ensure we can maintain and improve our service to local communities and keep people safe.”

A link to the survey can be found here: Council Tax Consultation 2023-2024 (smartsurvey.co.uk)

The survey will close at 5pm on 20 January 2023 and paper copies of this survey can be obtained by ringing 01768 217734 or emailing commissioner@cumbria-pcc.gov.uk


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