Police Authority debates budget and funding plans

Posted on Wednesday 2nd February 2011 at 8:22 am by SH (Editor)

Members of Avon and Somerset Police Authority’s Finance committee heard recently that 1,300 people have had their say on this year’s budget and given their views on cuts to police funding.

In December and January members and staff of the Police Authority carried out telephone, on-line and face to face consultation with residents and local authorities. Residents were asked about their policing priorities, the police budget and the policing part of the council tax, following the Comprehensive Spending Review, which outlined a 20% cut to police funding over four years.

On the question of the policing part of the council tax the results were mixed across the different consultation methods. In the telephone and online surveys, which represented 1,203 residents, 64% favoured a council tax increase. In the focus groups held in each of the six policing districts of Avon and Somerset the majority of residents did not favour a council tax increase.

Avon and Somerset Police Authority chair Dr Peter Heffer said: “We now have a greater understanding of what people want us to do and where they feel savings could be made, however we realise that we will not be able to meet everyone’s expectations. We are however committed to doing everything possible to protect the public from harm and to keep our communities safe but we must not underestimate the difficulties ahead.”

The initial findings of the consultation have now been considered by the Police Authority’s Finance Committee. Members discussed the factors involved in deciding between an increase in the council tax precept, or to take the 2.5% top-up grant from the Government in exchange for a precept freeze in 2011/12.

The Finance Committee recommends to full Police Authority that the council tax precept for 2011/12 should be frozen, in order to take advantage of the Government top-up grant. This will now be considered by all members of the full Police Authority on Wednesday, February 9 when the police budget will be set.

All of the consultation results will be published shortly at www.consultation.avonandsomerset.police.uk, committee papers for the Police Authority can be viewed at www.aspola.org.uk.

Source: Avon and Somerset Police Authority

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