The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) must agrees the budget and associated precept and basic council tax for the forthcoming year.
He must do this before 1 March each year.
However before doing so, the PCC must notify the relevant Police and Crime Panel, by the 31 January. He must inform them of the proposed precept for the following financial year.
Home Office Advice
The Home Office has told the PCC that: ‘We are proposing to double the precept flexibility for locally accountable PCCs.
“Last year, we provided an additional £12 precept flexibility. This year, we propose giving PCCs the freedom to ask for an additional £2 a month in 2019/20. This could increase their Band D precept by £24 in 2019/20 without the need to call a local referendum.
“It is for locally accountable PCCs to take decisions on local precept. They must explain to the electorate how this additional investment will help deliver a better police service.’’
The results of consultation with the public of Cleveland had 1,066 responses. They were as follows:
- 68.3% said that they would be prepared to pay an extra £16.00- £24.00 per year, for Band A to D properties, as part of the Council Tax bill This would be to help maintain current policing services and to provide an additional £1.8m for investment in Community Policing;
- 31.7% said that they would prefer further cuts to policing in Cleveland.
If the precept is increased by £24, the net budget requirement is expected to increase by nearly £6m (or 4.7%)in 2019/20.
However, after taking into account the additional costs of Police Pension increases, that haven’t been mitigated by additional grant, the overall funding position would be an increase of just under £4m (or 3.2%).
While this is better than the organisation was planning, it is worth noting that this increase will partly be absorbed by unavoidable additional costs to the organisation in 2019/20.
This was primarily from the forecast 2% pay awards and more general inflation (CPI is currently 2.1% and RPI 2.7%).