Council tax payers are being asked to consider paying extra for police services in Norfolk again next year.
A consultation over a possible two per cent rise on the police section of the council tax bill – equivalent to around £4 per year – has begun.
The consultation was launched the day Stephen Bett, Norfolk’s Police and Cri me Commissioner, announced he was to use savings from his budget to fund ten PCSOs to work in schools across the county and additional child protection posts.
Mr Bett said: “It is very clear the financial position remains bleak. It is also clear austerity will be with us until at least 2020 and the Government shows no sign of protecting policing.
“While we work with less and less, demand on policing continues to increase and change. The challenge of tackling cybercrime is a prime example of where we have to respond to a modern threat and that response come at considerable cost.
“There is also unprecedented demand in areas such as rape, serious sexual offences and child sexual exploitation as people feel more confident to come forward.
“In order to do right by the victims, both in terms of investigation and in providing support, we have to have resource.
“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has said Norfolk Police has done as outstanding job in managing its efficiencies to this point, but there is much more to do.
“The Chief Constable has already spelled out the savings that will have to be made even if we do increase the council tax. We will inevitably see a reduction in the number of police officers and PCSOs.”
Plans previously outlined include the loss of 120 police officers, 120 PCSOs and 110 other policing staff over the next four years.
However, Mr Bett’s office – responsible for commissioning police services and holding them to account – has created savings in its own budget, primarily by cutting staff from 11 to 8.7 full time equivalent posts, to fund some new police roles.
Savings from this year’s commissioner’s office budget will be used to fund 11 staff to work within the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub and the new Safeguarding Children Online Team.
Future savings will fund ten PCSOs to work in schools.
The council tax consultation begins on January 2 and will run until January 30.
To comment, visit: www.norfolk-pcc.gov.uk
Opportunities to discuss the proposal in person are to be announced.