18:21 Friday 25 January 2013

Rising tax rates to keep force afloat

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

DERBYSHIRE’S newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner has taken a swipe at the Government after details of his first budget brought little cheer for people in the south of the county.

Alan Charles, who was elected into the role in November, said he ‘sincerely regretted’ the fact council tax rates were to rise, suggesting his hand had been forced due to budget cuts implemented by the Government.

He said it was committed to protecting frontline policing, but hinted that job cuts would need to be made elsewhere, stating it would be ‘impossible’ to maintain the current level of ‘manpower’ in the force should its budget not increase in the future.

The provisional budget for 2013/14, which is set to be finalised by members of the Police and Crime Panel next week, sees a £2 million reduction in Government funding, which the force is seeking to recover through rising tax.

Rates are set to rise by nearly 2 per cent, which will see an increase of between two and three pounds for most households in the county.

Mr Charles said: “I sincerely regret being in a position where I have to increase the amount of council tax residents must pay for policing just to maintain the status quo in service and continue keeping them safe.

“Our current financial situation is a direct result of the Government’s cut in funding for Derbyshire which amounts to some 20 per cent of our total grant over the past few years as well as the on-going unfairness which sees Derbyshire receiving only a fraction of its entitlement. This means that other forces receive more funds than they are due, while we receive less.

“My commitment as Derbyshire’s first elected commissioner is to drive crime down and keep our streets safe. Unfortunately if the precept is not increased it would be impossible to keep the current level of police manpower in the future and this could compromise the level of protection Derbyshire police offers its communities.”

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