Proposed council tax rise for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire residents to pay for extra police officers

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Peterborough and Cambridgeshire residents could see their council tax bills rise to pay for more police officers.

Police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite is proposing a rise of £2 per month which would allow Cambridgeshire police to recruit another 50 officers.

Jason Ablewhite

Jason Ablewhite

Last year taxpayers in the county saw their police precept rise by £1 per month, which led to the recruitment of 55 officers.

A revamp of the force also saw another 50 officers recruited.

Mr Ablewhite is now calling on the public to complete a short survey to tell him how much they are willing to contribute as part of their council tax for the coming year (2019/20).

Options include the £2 per month rise he is advocating, a 33p per month rise which would result in a loss of 80 officers due to “unavoidable increases in cost (e.g. insurance),” or a £10 per month rise which would result in the recruitment of 350 more officers, although this would require a referendum.

Mr Ablewhite said: “Chief Constable Nick Dean and I have been working hard to ensure our force is as efficient and effective as it can be.

“Last year, we introduced a new structure for local policing which brought an additional 50 officers to the front-line. And, as a result of last year’s increase in the policing part of the council tax, a further 55 officers were also recruited and are now in training.

“Whilst those additional officers are very welcome, there are some harsh policing realities that we face. Demand on policing is growing.

“Cambridgeshire is a safe county, but police now spend more time tackling ‘hidden crimes’ such as domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation and modern day slavery. They also spend time working with partners to tackle vulnerability where there is a risk to an individual or members of the public.

“Our police force is still one of the lowest funded forces in the country and one of the most efficient costing 42p per person per day against a national average of 51p.

“Cambridgeshire’s population is forecast to grow by 20 per cent by 2031, but with government funding not currently linked to population growth this is something we continue to press for change.”

A link to the survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RHJL6KW.

The survey runs until Monday, January 28.

Views can also be given by telephone: 0300 333 3456 or by email: cambs-pcc@cambs.pnn.police.uk.

If emailing or telephoning, state whether you agree with:

· Option 1: you want an increase of 33p per month (£4 per year)

· Option 2: you want an increase of £2 per month (£24 per year)

· Option 3: you want an increase of £10 per month (£120 per year)

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority recently revealed proposals to increase its council tax precept by three per cent from April, which would equate to an extra £1.98 a year for a Band D property.

Peterborough City Council is expected to reveal its proposals for council tax in 2019/20 later this month.

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