Hertfordshire policing services protected as PCC’s budget endorsed by panel
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A proposal by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire to increase the council tax precept has been agreed.
David Lloyd decided on the £13 a year increase for an average Band D council tax property to protect policing services across the county.
The 5.5 per cent precept increase will bridge the budget gap caused by cost of living increases and prevent the loss of any frontline officers.
The additional £6.1m raised, alongside the central government grant and a programme of cost savings are set to ensure Hertfordshire remains the safest place compared to neighbouring and most similar counties, while also having one of the lowest precepts.
Standstill pressures are expected to increase the overall cost of running the Constabulary by £21m for the next financial year from April 2024.
Last year Mr Lloyd and the Chief Constable began an extensive joint efficiency and effectiveness review to identify savings. To balance the budget Mr Lloyd has now agreed a programme of measures expected to cut costs by £7.5m.
These measures include maintaining Police Community Support Officers at their current levels, improving overtime efficiency and additional savings from the collaborated units with Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Constabularies.
While running the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire already costs less than the government guidelines, Mr Lloyd has also agreed to reduce the grant budget he allocates to local partners by £750,000.
Mr Lloyd said: “My proposal to increase the police precept by an average of £13 a year was supported by almost two thirds of the thousands of members of the public who responded to the consultation.
“It is not a decision I have taken lightly but the standstill pressures of officers pay increases, alongside inflationary costs have led to a significant rise in the cost of running Hertfordshire Constabulary.
“A key part of my role is ensuring that the police service is efficient and effective, and that public money is being used wisely. Last year the Chief Constable and I launched a joint force review to see where changes could be made to deliver the best service to the public for the money being spent.
“This increase, alongside those identified savings, will enable the Constabulary to balance the budget for the forthcoming year without making cuts to frontline services.”
Mr Lloyd was speaking after the proposed precept was examined and unanimously agreed by the cross-party Police and Crime Panel on Thursday evening (February 8).
Mr Lloyd’s decision follows a public consultation in which 64 per cent of residents said they wanted to pay more to support policing in the county. Out of 2,291 replies the remaining 30 per cent disagreed with the proposal and 6 per cent were neutral.
The increase means the annual precept for an average (Band D) property will go from £238 to £251. Two thirds of properties in Hertfordshire are in council tax bands A to D, so will pay an extra £13 or less per annum. Households will pay more or less than the average depending on their house banding, Band A will pay £8.66, while Band H will pay £26 extra.
Running Hertfordshire Constabulary is expected to cost £294.2m in the financial year starting April 2024. This is funded by a combination of £150m from central government, £117m from the Council Tax and an additional £27.2m from fees, charges and other grants.