What you pay for in your council tax towards policing

With the population in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough set to rise by 20% by 2031 and the changing nature of criminality, it is vital that our police service is as effective and efficient as possible.

Under the terms of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) must set the force budget and determine the precept.

It is the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to make sure the Constabulary has the necessary resources to meet increased demand and ensure offenders are apprehended.

How the budget works:

The income received by the Police and Crime Commissioner to fund the police budget is made up by a central government grant (54%) with the remaining coming from the policing part of the council tax (precept). Central Government encouraged Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to raise the precept to a maximum of £24 a year for 2019/20 based on a Band D property. The £24 increase equates to a 12% increase and will be used to fund additional officers.

The Constabulary continues to be one of the lowest funded police forces in the country in terms of funding per head of population, resulting in a constant risk of under resourced policing services. (42p per day per head compared to 51p national average). The Commissioner allocates the vast majority of the funding that he receives directly to the Chief Constable for policing services.

Of that funding for 2019/20, the Commissioner has allocated 99.16% to the Chief Constable to deliver policing services. The remaining 0.84% has been retained by the Commissioner to deliver the statutory responsibilities that his office has.

For context in 2016/17 of the funding received by the Commissioner, 99.05% was spent directly on policing and 0.95% by the Commissioner to fulfil his statutory duties.

Whilst Cambridgeshire is still a safe place to live, police now have to spend more time tackling ‘hidden crimes’ such as domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation and modern day slavery. They also spend time helping people who find themselves in mental health crisis, all of which means resources can be stretched.

A clear theme amongst respondents to the Commissioner’s recent (policing) tax survey was that people were prepared to pay more if the money was spent on neighbourhood policing.

By increasing the council tax by £2 per month per household this year (2019-20, based on a Band D property), the additional budget allows the recruitment of 50 warranted officers, an increase on the existing establishment.

This, in addition to the 105 officers recruited from a restructuring of local policing which took place in 2018, and the increase in council tax last year, means that police officers numbers will be increased for the second year running.

Officers continue to work tirelessly to serve the public, preventing crime, pursuing offenders and supporting those unfortunate enough to become victims of crime.