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Council tax bill hike to up police budget

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

Comments (16)

TAXPAYERS will have to fork out extra cash to pay for police in Gloucestershire after a precept increase of two per cent was agreed.

The Police and Crime Panel decided to support the Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl's proposed budget, which included the tax hike, yesterday.

The increase will generate an additional £900,000 of income for the police each year – enough to pay for 30 police officers.

It means the average taxpayer will have to contribute an extra £3.99 to the police through their council tax bill this coming year.

Mr Surl, pictured, stressed during the meeting at Shire Hall that he is 'in touch' with what the people of Gloucestershire want from the police. He insisted that the financial plans were about building a sustainable future for the force.

"After 2015, the budget won't balance and the constabulary will have to make £8.1 million in savings on top of the £18 million we have already saved," he added.

"That's why it is important we invest to save.

"I did consider the freeze. The impact of a two per cent increase on a band D property is £3.99 a year. That isn't a lot to me, but I do understand that it is a lot to some people.

"For some people £3.99 is another £3.99 that they may be in debt. But I think this is the right way forward."

Speaking after the decision was made, Councillor Brian Calway, the chairman of the Police and Crime Panel, said: "The panel deliberated at great length because we have to acknowledge that the affect on the public purse needs to be very carefully considered."

The panel also asked for more communications from the Police and Crime Commissioner's office so they were better informed of Mr Surl's plans.

Gloucestershire Constabulary is expected to have £24.6 million in reserves at the end of April this year. However, most of this cash is already earmarked for areas such as the upgrading of police stations in Cheltenham and Gloucester and improvements to IT.

Mr Surl was joined at the meeting by the county's new Chief Constable, Suzette Davenport.

It was Ms Davenport's third day in the job.

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  • Ms_Superstar  |  February 08 2013, 9:20AM

    I have no complaints about paying tax (my monthly income tax is about £1300, but my monthly council tax is about £85) but, like others on here, I'd like to think I was getting something worthwhile in return. The police service in this country needs to be properly funded, but also needs a good sort-out. They exist to serve us, not the other way round. I have grown up to respect the police, and have always trusted them to protect me from crime and to be always polite and courteous, as indeed they were once. But since moving to Cheltenham I have felt badly let down.

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  • sticks_stones  |  February 08 2013, 12:10AM

    I hate paying anymore Tax, like most people do - so, are we getting value for our money, from those, paid to protect us? I dont think so. One 'little' example of how we squander our, HARD EARNED Taxes - read and weep;http://tinyurl.com/dyonyuf

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  • Ms_Superstar  |  February 07 2013, 11:35PM

    Anyone know Mr Surl's email address? I mean, he's supposed to be accessible, isn't he? Laplands, not even a brake light. The copper who stopped me had to admit he had no cause to do so, let alone detain me, yet he kept me talking so long I missed Holy Communion, which I'd advised him I was on my way to. Still, 'as we forgive them who trespass' etc. Just wish he'd been out chasing villains.

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  • Laplands  |  February 07 2013, 8:21PM

    I received last year a 1.5% pay rise so now this 2% award has been made i am less well off than i was last year. No doubt we will see another nice new fleet of Mercedes, BMW,s and other top model fleet police cars to keep the officers nice and warm in when they drive around doing not a lot unless you have a brake light out on your car. Call the police to report something and no one turns up. This money should be given to the police from all the money that the council have made from all the parking metres that have invaded every street or road within a mile of the town centre. Has,nt anyone told this Idiot that there is still a recession on.

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  • Coingrass  |  February 07 2013, 4:56PM

    Raidermanuk - the right to vote also includes the right not to vote. That's very democratic too.

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  • MarkC11  |  February 07 2013, 4:24PM

    Selina Mr Surl is an independant not a Conservative, please try and keep up.

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  • SELINA30  |  February 07 2013, 2:47PM

    But didnt the Tories pledge not to increase the Council Tax?

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  • TIMONLINE2010  |  February 07 2013, 12:41PM

    Well someone has to pay for the new layer of management! £3.99 really isn't a lot - a cheap bottle of wine a year!

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  • Ms_Superstar  |  February 07 2013, 12:14PM

    @SteveAA, I don't think it's about numbers of officers. At least not directly. My experience is that many of the officers that we have seem belligerent and unwilling to put themselves out. I'm a neighbourhood watch coordinator and I haven't even seen my local pcso, except occasionally at PCCM meetings. They're happy to turn a blind eye to littering, obstructing pavements and pavement cycling, yet will chase you with blue lights flashing if you dare to drive past a traffic signal at amber. Obviously there are good, dedicated and competent officers, but my experience is that they are few and far between.

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  • SteveAA  |  February 07 2013, 10:49AM

    2% wont even keep pace with inflation so in real terms this is a cut. Those who expect more officers or a better service better wise up. The only thing you can say about this increase is that it will prevent things being quite as bad as they could have been!

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