Lincolnshire Police Commissioner calls for increase in council tax of 5.8 per cent

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones.
Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones.

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commisioner Marc Jones has proposed a 5.8 per cent increase in council tax and is committing a further £5.3 million of reserves to protect front line policing.

The total budget of £118 million includes nearly £1m for victims’ services and £1m in crime reduction projects.

Mr Jones says an extra £2.7 million will be raised for policing in Lincolnshire with an average increase of less than 25p a week on council tax.

Funds provided will enable the force to retain its current 1,100 officers and up to 120 PCSOs.

The budget also includes provision for a significant investment in a new Command and Control system for the police, which will bring operational benefits through the better use of resources and data.

Mr Jones says his proposed rise has been embraced by respondents to his consultation, which was returned by nearly 3,000 people – one of the most comprehensive surveys ever conducted by a commissioner.

The questionnaire asked the level of extra council tax residents are prepared to pay to protect and enhance the police force.

In every single tax band the highest percentage of people opted for the biggest increase – averaging at more than a third of respondents opting for a 20 per cent increase.

Across all tax bands at least half of people opted for increases of at least 16 per cent - considerably higher than the increase of less than 5.8 per cent proposed.

But Mr Jones warned that, with reserves now depleted, the force faces a funding gap which could hit £6.5m by 2021 if current funding levels do not change but said he was still in talks with ministers and civil servants to seek a solution.

He said: “I am delighted we have been able to provide a balanced budget that will allow the Chief Constable to maintain officer numbers for next year. We do face some tough challenges in the years ahead and if we cannot find solutions it’s hard to see how we can maintain service levels. But there is strong support from local MPs and positive on-going dialogue with Whitehall and I will continue to work tirelessly to find a solution.

“In the meantime I am confident we can continue our drive to provide modern, effective and efficient policing for the people of Lincolnshire.”