Herts Police call for council tax hike

PUBLISHED: 12:01 24 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:56 06 May 2010

POLICE have bucked the local trend for no council tax rise this year by increasing their share by 3.5 per cent - and they will still have to make cuts. With both Herts county council and St Albans district council effectively pegging their share of the co

POLICE have bucked the local trend for no council tax rise this year by increasing their share by 3.5 per cent - and they will still have to make cuts.

With both Herts county council and St Albans district council effectively pegging their share of the council tax, the Herts Police Authority has increased its budget by £5.8 million.

That means a £5 a year increase for policing for people living in the average Band D property.

Chair of the Police Authority, Stuart Nagler, said they were facing unprecedented financial pressures over the next few years as anticipated reductions in Government funding took effect. This year they had a shortfall in grants of over £4 million caused by the formula used to allocate the Home Office money.

He went on: "We thought long and hard before making our decision and weighed up the need to maintain the high standards of policing which the public tell us they expect with the need to limit the financial burden we place on our residents.

"Even with an increase of 3.5 per cent in council tax and the use of £630,000 from reserves, we will still have to make cuts."

Over the course of the next year about 100 police posts will be lost with redundancies expected although they will be kept to a minimum. Pay for officers and staff accounts for 83 per cent of the authority's annual budget.

Savings will also be made by collaboration projects with other forces, especially Beds, and the setting up of a single Local Policing Command Unit and centralising the support and management of a range of services.

There are a number of areas where investment is required including tackling serious and organised crime and anti-social behaviour

Chief Constable Frank Whiteley warned that even with this year's increase in the precept, the police authority would still face, "significant financial shortfalls in the next few years.

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