'Council tax rise to pay for more policing'

01 December 2018

More money for policing?

Council tax payers could foot the bill for an increase in police budgets

Media reports suggest the Government is preparing to announce £600m extra money for policing to pull the service back from the brink of disaster.

However, we understand that any extra money is likely to come from an increase in council tax rather than from central budgets, which we believe would be a mistake.

PFEW National Chair, John Apter, explains: “While we welcome every extra penny that goes into policing, the government’s decision to pass the buck to Police and Crime Commissioners is grossly unfair. It means the bulk of any increases in police budgets will fall on council tax payers, with no guarantees that PCCs will implement the rises. We also risk creating a two tier system where wealthier communities will have more money available for local policing than others.

Media sources say the Home Secretary and Chancellor are poised to allow the police precept on council tax bills to double to an average of £2 a month per household from April 2019. This could raise around £450m nationally, while the Treasury would also put in £170m to help plug the black hole in police officer pensions.

Pressure on the Government to increase police funding has ramped up following the horrific spate of knife attacks in the Capital and elsewhere this year.

Mr Apter continued: “We have been warning for some time of a law and order crisis in this country caused by years of cuts and chronic under-funding of our police forces. If these increases are confirmed I have little doubt they will be spun to suggest the government is supporting the police. This would be misleading, the reality is they are passing the responsibility to local Police and Crime Commissioners who have to pass on any increase to the public. This is wrong and will be seen for what it is.”

John gave an interview with BBC Breakfast earlier today in which he warned against raised expectations new money will lead to more officers on the streets - this is likely to "sustain policing but not add to it", he said.