Wiltshire police chief will freeze force's council tax demand (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Wiltshire police chief will freeze force's council tax demand
Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson has proposed to freeze the police council tax precept for the next financial year, despite a £2million cut in core funding.
At the end of December 2012, the Commissioner was told the central government grant for Wiltshire Police for 2013/14 will be £65.2m, £2m less than the grant for the current financial year.
“The budget we are receiving from central government is in line with what we expected – so there are no surprises there. We expected to have to make savings in line with our on-going plans,” said Mr Macpherson.
“I am more than aware of the current economic climate and challenges this can give people living in Wiltshire and Swindon, so as promised during my election campaign, I am proposing not to increase the policing part of the council tax for the next financial year.”
The Commissioner will be consulting on his proposal with chamber of commerce groups and the voluntary community sector.
The Police and Crime Panel, the body that scrutinises the Commissioner, will also discuss the proposal at a meeting on February 6 before Mr Macpherson makes his final decision.
If the police council tax cap goes ahead, householders in a Band D property will pay £157.77 for policing services next year. This is the same as the last two years.
Council tax bills are distributed by local authorities to households in March for the start of the next financial year from April.
“Wiltshire Police has a deserved reputation for giving residents a service which is good value for money,” he said.
“I am keen to continue to keep the cost of policing down while maintaining an effective frontline service.
“This means doing more for less. This will involve working more closely with the voluntary and community sector, supporting initiatives such as Neighbourhood Watch, Street Pastors and organisations which support victims of domestic abuse and tackling offenders who are drug and alcohol dependent.”