Police authority puts up its share of Council Tax

SUFFOLK Police Authority has increased its Council Tax precept to generate £1.55 million and increase officer numbers.

The 3.75 per cent increase – the equivalent of £6.03 for a Band D property – was agreed unanimously by members as part of its £112.2 million budget for the upcoming financial year.

The decision will boost the number of officers from 1,167 to more than 1,200 over the next few years.

An option to freeze Council Tax at last year’s level and accept a £1.25 million Government grant was rejected.

It would have resulted in the loss of at least £1.6 million in funding in subsequent years because the grant would be a one-off payment.

Joanna Spicer, chairman of the Police Authority, said: “The decisions were always going to be difficult. We have had to balance the need to continue along the path of making severe cuts while ensuring we maintain an efficient and effective policing service for local people.”

On the Council Tax increase, she said: “It is important to understand that we were facing a stark choice and we all agreed the importance of maintaining the long-term resilience of the constabulary and its capability to provide a good quality policing service.”

To balance the books during the year, the authority will make more than £7 million in savings – largely through collaborating with Norfolk Police.

There is £2.45 million set aside in the authority’s capital programme over the next three years to provide new police bases in towns where ageing police stations will be sold off to generate about £6.4 million.

Norfolk Police Authority has also upped its Council Tax precept by three per cent.