Panel backs tax rise to fund Norfolk Police
People in Norfolk will have to pay about 29p a week more for the police element of council tax next year.
A meeting of the county's Police and Crime Panel yesterday heard the increase was essential to tackle "hidden harms" such as sexual abuse and domestic violence.
Norfolk Police and crime commissioner (PCC), Lorne Green, proposed an increase of 5.68 per cent (£14.94) a year on Band D properties.
A Band B resident will see their council tax bills rise by 22p a week.
Mr Green acknowledged the “unprecedented times” but said he needed to provide for public safety.
“We must not lose the gains we have made to policing in our county over these recent years,” he said.
“And so, taking full account of the financial challenges that Norfolk taxpayers face, particularly now, and the demands on government, together with the challenges for policing, I instructed the chief constable to present to me a plan to maintain the level of policing services that residents need and, where possible to enhance service in areas of particular demand or threat such as domestic abuse or cybercrime.”
The increase proposal pledged further investment to tackle the most dangerous domestic abusers and digital fraud, as well as increased neighbourhood policing and greater capacity to respond to calls to the non-emergency 101 number.
Chief Constable Simon Bailey said they would need an increase of just over two per cent “just to stand still”.
He added: “It is so important that you support this. The challenges that face throughout the Covid crisis have been unprecedented.
“In my view, this comes down to protecting the most vulnerable in our communities, those that need a police service that is fit for purpose.”
A consultation for the plans was held online, with 987 responses. In total, 541 people, almost 56 per cent of respondents, said they agreed or strongly agreed with a precept increase of 5.86 per cent, while 39.51pc of the total respondents who did not support a precept increase
Norfolk County councillor William Richmond called the precept increase a “small price to pay” for tackling complex crimes.
West Norfolk councillor Colin Manning agreed, saying: “It is absolutely important we support this increase in the precept.“Nobody wants to pay more but it is vital that we don’t stand still and tread water or even worse go backwards.”
The proposal received unanimous support from panel members.