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Spare a copper?

January 5, 2016 4:51 PM

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, has begun a consultation on his proposal to increase the police part of the council tax by about 2%

That would mean an extra £3.12 a year - less than a penny a day - for a band D property. At present, band D homes pay £163.98 a year.

Mr Macpherson said: "The police grant settlement that we received from the Home Office in December showed a slight reduction in the central government grant for Wiltshire Police. Initial indications are that a further saving will need to be made in 2016-17 of between £2.6m and £3.4m. The proposed £3.12 a year increase would provide me with an additional £769,000 of local income for 2016-17. This would help to cover rising costs, including £2m worth of National Insurance contributions from which we have previously been exempt. The money raised from the police part of the council tax will also be used to protect community policing which I believe is greatly valued by people in Wiltshire and Swindon. This is an average increase of just over £3 a year, little more than the price of a large coffee in some coffee shops or a pint of beer. It is also important to point out that Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) recently (20 October 2015) praised Wiltshire Police for its commitment to continuously improving services and for its robust financial management. The Force was given a 'good' rating by the inspectors for efficiency who reported that it was in a good financial position. The HMIC calculated that the cost per head of population of a Wiltshire Police officer was just £75 in 2014-15, compared to £115 across England and Wales, and yet victim satisfaction with Wiltshire Police matched the national figure of 84 per cent. It is important to note that the cost of policing to the people of Wiltshire and Swindon is the lowest in the South West region. Ensuring value for money for residents in Wiltshire and Swindon while maintaining high quality services is very important to me. That is why we are embracing new ways of working across the public sector, collaborating with other PCCs and police forces in the south west and with local partners. As public sector budgets continue to be squeezed, the aim is to work more effectively together to both improve customer service and reduce costs."

The consultation opens on 5 January and closes at 10am on Tuesday 2 February.

During this time the Commissioner and senior staff from his office will be attending Wiltshire Council area boards to talk to the public about the proposal.

Parish and town councils and the business community will also be invited to contribute to the consultation.

Mr Macpherson will be speaking to the Police and Crime Panel about the proposal at a meeting at Monkton Park, Chippenham on Wednesday 13 January. The panel meets again at County Hall, Trowbridge on Thursday 4 February, when the Commissioner will formally present his proposal.

You can have your say on the proposal by going to: www.wiltshire-pcc.gov.uk where you can also find more information.