POLICE and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Wiltshire and Swindon Angus Macpherson has today set the police and crime element of council tax for 2014-15.

The Commissioner gave his proposal of an increase of £3.15 a year for the average band D property to the Police and Crime Panel. This increase is to help reduce the impact of central government grant reductions on policing and crime services in the area. The panel agreed with this proposal.

This increase of £3.15 a year and means the rate for the police and crime element of council tax for an average band D property will be £160.92 for 2014-15. For the past three years the rate has remained the same at £157.77 for a band D property.

The Commissioner said: “I am pleased the panel has supported my proposal for this modest increase in the police and crime element of council tax. The rate for policing and crime services in our area has not increased for the past three years and it will still be the lowest in the south west. As some of the panel members said at the meeting, this is a small increase now to protect the police service and other services I can commission in the long term.

“Ensuring value for money for residents while maintaining high quality services is very important to me. That is why we are embracing new ways of working across the public sector, working more closely with other south west police forces and developing a strategic partnership with Wiltshire Council. As public sector budgets continue to be cut, the aim is to work more effectively together to both improve customer service and reduce costs.”

Based on current figures from central government, there will be a £3 million or 4.5 per cent reduction in central funding in the 2014-15 financial year, compared to the 2013-14 financial year.

An average increase of £3.15 per household will provide the Commissioner with an additional £740,000 of local income for 2014-15 to help reduce this funding gap.

Looking ahead three years to 2016-17, a proposed increase of £3.15 a year in each of the next three years would reduce the potential funding shortfall by £2.3 million, meaning that savings of £12.5 million would be required rather than £14.8 million. Since the start of the austerity period, savings of more than £10 million have already been made.

Mr Macpherson ran a consultation on the police and crime element of council tax from January 6 to February 3. This included information and a feedback form on the PCC’s website, the PCC and members of his team giving presentations at Wiltshire Area Boards and Swindon Locality meetings as well as parish/town councils and the business community being informed.