Norfolk residents asked: ‘How much tax would you pay for police?

Lorne Green Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner
Lorne Green Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner
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People in West Norfolk are being asked how much more they would pay to fund the county’s police, only weeks after major cuts were revealed.

A public consultation has been launched on whether to freeze the police’s portion of the council tax next year, or raise it by the maximum available amount, 1.98 per cent.

But county police and crime commissioner Lorne Green is also asking what level of tax rise residents would accept beyond that level.

The issue has been raised amid suggestions the current cap could be lifted, perhaps as early as this month, and an even higher rise is needed to balance the books.

In October, the force announced it would make all its 150 PCSOs redundant in the new year, while also recruiting 80 new officers, and close public enquiry desks at most of its police stations.

But Mr Green said that, even with those plans, the force still faces a £6.8 million budget gap in the coming financial year and tough decisions still have to be made.

He said: “If austerity continues, Norfolk Constabulary will need to make cuts of between £2 million and £3 million a year just to cover inflation.

“I, along with other PCCs, have been lobbying central government to look again at police funding and lift the council tax limit above the two per cent maximum.

“This would allow more flexibility to set tax levels in response to funding challenges and local policing needs.”

Mr Green says a 4.5 per cent increase in council tax, the equivalent of 19 pence a week for a band D property, would balance the budget alongside £4 million worth of already identified savings.

That is one of three options above the current cap which are being put forward in the current consultation, which opened yesterday.

The others are a six per cent rise, worth 25 pence a week extra on a band D home and a 12 per cent rise, worth 50 pence a week.

The commissioner claims a 12 per cent rise would raise an extra £7.2 million and “enable significant additional investment in frontline local and operational policing.”

The consultation is open until December 22 at www.norfolk-pcc.gov.uk. Residents can also have their say by emailing TellLorne@norfolk.pnn.police.uk, phoning 01953 424455 or writing to OPCCN, Jubilee House, Building 8, Falconers Chase, Wymondham, NR18 0WW.