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Norfolk police commissioner proposes 3.59 per cent tax rise in budget plan



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People in West Norfolk are being invited to have their say on new police budget proposals today.

The county's police and crime commissioner, Giles Orpen-Smellie, is proposing to increase the force's share of council tax by 3.59 per cent from the spring.

And residents have been given until next Friday, January 14, to participate in a public consultation process.

Giles Orpen-Smellie, Norfolk's newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner. (47051388)
Giles Orpen-Smellie, Norfolk's newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner. (47051388)

Mr Orpen-Smellie says his proposal will equate to an extra 15 pence a week on council tax bills for a band B property and 19 pence a week, just under £10 a year, at band D.

Increases have been capped at a maximum of £10 following the latest government spending review in the autumn.

Mr Orpen-Smellie said: "I understand that the last question many people will want to be asked is whether they support additional demands on their household budgets.

Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie on patrol in Lynn with local beat manager PC Mike Hopkins (53386336)
Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie on patrol in Lynn with local beat manager PC Mike Hopkins (53386336)

"The reality we are faced with is that without an increase to police budgets the constabulary will not be able to maintain either the current level of service or be able to respond to these growths in demand."

The commissioner has also set out his priorities in a new Police, Crime and Community Safety Plan, including increased focus on domestic violence and a co-ordinated response to the threat of violence against women and girls.

He also argued for the need to increase drone capacity to tackle rural crime, plus improved technology.

He added: "It is imperative that the plans we are making for the constabulary are ones that will support keeping our communities safe and responding to the changing face of crime.

Police and Crime Commissioner announces preferred candidate for Chief Constable of Norfolk as Paul Sanford (53935833)
Police and Crime Commissioner announces preferred candidate for Chief Constable of Norfolk as Paul Sanford (53935833)

"Norfolk is a safe county to live and work in and I want it to stay that way - we must not lose through not sufficiently funding our police force."

Norfolk Police's new Chief Constable, Paul Sanford, said: "The cost of providing effective policing has risen and so have the number of calls for our service.

"Whilst we have seen significant decreases in neighbourhood crimes such as burglary, theft and robbery, crimes committed behind closed doors and particularly domestic and sexual abuse continues to rise.

"I have reviewed every part of our budget to identify savings to meet our financial pressures and allow further investment in the frontline to address growing demands.

"However, the savings that we have found are not enough and I have asked the PCC to consider an increase in precept.

"Without an increase in precept, I will not be able to make the improvements that recent events have shown are critically needed."

More information and the consultation survey can be found at the commissioner's website here.

Printed copies of the survey and consultation documents can be obtained by writing to OPCCN, Jubilee House, Building 1, Falconers Chase, Wymondham, NR18 0WW, phoning 01953 425657, or emailing opccn@norfolk.police.uk.

The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday, January 14.



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