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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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Crime commissioner asks: How much would you pay for Cumbria police?

How much would you pay for police in Cumbria?

Richard Rhodes photo
Richard Rhodes

That is the question being asked by Richard Rhodes, the man in charge of the county’s police force.

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has launched an eight-week consultation entitled Your Police, Your Say to allow the public to give their views on the future funding of the police service.

Every household contributes towards the force through their council tax, as about 14 per cent of the bill is the policing precept.

It is one of the roles of the PCC to decide whether the amount of council tax is increased or frozen every year.

Last year the policing part of the council tax precept was increased by 1.93 per cent – an increase of £3.96 per year. This means that residents living in a band D property pay £208.62 each year for the police.

The overall police budget is £128m for 2014/15. Most of the funding comes from central government, supported by the council tax precept, the police’s own financial reserves and money not spent in the previous year’s budget.

Mr Rhodes said: “Part of the rationale for police and crime commissioners was that they would represent the public and enable people to have a voice in policing. This why I am going directly to the people of Cumbria to get their views about the future funding of policing through their council tax payments.

“Unfortunately, cuts from central government mean that overall funding is reducing. Even with a reasonable increase in council tax precept there is likely to be a reduction in the overall budget with further savings required.”

There will be a range of events over the coming weeks, beginning with a joint public meeting to introduce the new Chief Constable, Jerry Graham.

Mr Graham will also be setting out the constabulary’s commitment to integrity.

Mr Rhodes will be out and about meeting residents face-to-face, as well as hosting online meetings. There is also an online survey that people can undertake.

“The results of the consultation events will enable me to make an informed decision about the future levels of the policing part of the council tax precept over the next two years,” he added.

Mr Graham said: “It is a challenging financial time for policing, however we need to continue to provide a high quality service for the people of Cumbria.

“As part of this quality service I am committed to ensuring our officers work with the utmost integrity.

“I am keen to meet members of the public and outline our commitment to integrity and respond to any questions they have.”

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