Unease over plans for police precept increase

COST Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes
COST Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes

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THE police has come in for criticism for pushing for an increase in their share of the council tax.

Simon Hayes, the Police and Crime Commissioner at Hampshire Constabulary, is asking for three per cent more in its precept – as local authorities and other emergency services are set to freeze their portions.

Councillor Frank Pearce, who represents Hayling Island on Hampshire County Council, said the public will not be happy with the move.

‘At the moment Hampshire and Havant councils are looking at a council tax freeze,’ said Cllr Pearce.

‘So I think three per cent for the police is exceptionally high.

‘There is a new police commissioner with his own personal staff which costs money and they (police)are closing down police stations across Hampshire so I can’t see how they can warrant a three per cent increase.

‘We need some police presence on Hayling but since the station closed we haven’t had any.

‘There will eventually be something but it certainly won’t be full time.

‘I don’t think people will be happy with an increase, especially not on Hayling’

Mr Hayes is seeking the public’s views on the plans for the which he says will cost the average Band D household an additional £4.54 a year, raising the total bill to £155.79 per year.

It will generate around £3m a year at a time when the force will receive £41m less in the coming financial year compared to four years ago, according to Mr Hayes.

He said: ‘I believe that we must maintain a safe level of neighbourhood policing, including PCSOs on our streets, and this is why I am left with no option but to propose a precept increase.

‘But I want to hear the public’s view on this. Our short online survey is an easy and simple way to let me know whether you agree with this proposal or not.’

The survey is available through the commissioner’s website hampshire-pcc.gov.uk, Twitter account and Facebook page, and will be sent out to stakeholders.

The survey will close on January 22 for consideration by the Police and Crime Panel.

The proposal will be debated on January 24.