|I’ve launched a survey to gather your views on whether I should increase the level of council tax which you pay in support of policing, to ensure continued investment in Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary.
I know this is a very difficult time financially for the country, and potentially for you as an individual, and I am conscious that any rise in your council tax to support policing will come at the same time as other costs are also increasing.
However, it is also a difficult time for funding your police force; police are not immune to the cost of living crisis and therefore the 2023/24 budget is being set against the backdrop of a challenging economic environment with general inflation, pay costs, utilities and fuel costs all rising.
For example, the cost increase for police officer pay is over 5%, and general inflation is running at 10%; our forecast increase in government grant is only 1.1%, so this creates a funding shortfall for next year.
One option available to me to reduce the funding shortfall is to increase the police council tax.
The maximum I am allowed to increase the council tax by on a Band D property for 2023/24 is £10 per annum (a 4.2% increase, significantly below inflation), which is an increase of 83p per month. If I increase by the maximum, for residents in property Bands A-C the increase would equate to less than 83p a month, and for properties in Bands E-H it would be more than 83p per month.
The survey proposes a range of options up to the £10 maximum per year which is 83p per month.
If you are not sure which council tax band your property is in, you can check at www.gov.uk/council-tax-bands
If I don’t increase the council tax for 2023/24, I will need to work with the Constabulary to implement savings, with an inevitable impact on the overall service level which can be provided. I see first-hand day in day out the vital work which the Constabulary undertakes to keep the residents of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight safe, and I would not wish to see this compromised.
However, I know that any increase in the amount you pay must be considered carefully. I also hear very loudly that you want to see more officers in your communities. That’s why it’s so important that you complete this short survey and have your say on continued investment.
With yours and the government’s support, I am on track to have recruited 600 more police officers in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight by March 2023, hitting a 25% increase in police officers responding to emergencies and patrolling the beat.
Through this, I am making your police force even more local, visible and accessible. More police means more deployments, more crimes solved, and safer streets.
By completing this survey, you will really help us set the budget and the council tax precepts for policing for the next financial year. I want to hear your feedback so I can represent your views on where you want your money to go.
I have opened this survey for five weeks to hear from as many people as possible.
The survey will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 4 December 2022.
Thank you for your ongoing support and feedback.
Click this link to take the survey.
Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones