JANUARY 2022: Message From Avon & Somerset PCC Mark Shelford
How much more should we pay for policing?
AS your PCC, I am responsible for setting the amount of money that residents – you – contribute to local policing through the council tax, known as the precept.
It’s that time of year again where PCCs up and down the country will need to make a decision whether or not to increase the precept, and the impact this will have on local people.
Before making this decision, I want to hear from communities and find out your views about this potential increase. So, I have launched a survey asking if you would be willing to pay an increase in the policing part of the council tax.
Why is an increase needed? Local policing is funded by a combination of Home Office and other grants, as well as council tax contributions. In 2022/23, the Home Office grant funding is increasing to fund additional officers as part of Operation Uplift but this is not enough to manage inflationary pressures, like pay rises for police officers.
The Government has told PCCs that they can raise the precept next year by £10 for an average band D household. A £10 increase, approximately 83p per month, would mean any savings that still need to be made would be less likely to impact frontline services.
If the policing part of the council tax is not increased, the force would have to make significant savings, resulting in a reduction of services that would impact our communities.
As your PCC, I have to balance the challenges facing policing with local people’s views in order to best resource an efficient and effective police service that can keep people safe.
However, I know that any increase in household bills is felt by local people. This is why I want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to tell me their thoughts and opinions before I make any decision regarding an increase.
The survey can be completed via the PCC website at www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk/about/police-tax-survey/
If you need a paper version please contact the team on 01278 646188.
I’m sure many of you will be shopping online over January to make the most of the New Year sales. I want to take a moment to remind you to take extra care when shopping on the internet and ensure you do not fall victim to online shopping fraud.
We need to ensure that criminals do not take advantage of our online shopping habits and, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
There are numerous ways online shoppers can protect themselves online including: using a payment method that offers protection such as a credit card, using a strong separate password for your email account and watching out for phishing emails and texts.
More advice on how to stay safe online can be found on Action Fraud’s website.