Dorset's 'Police And Crime Commissioner' (PCC) has announced that Dorset council tax payers will pay an extra £1/month/Band D property in 2018/19 for the funding of Dorset's Police.
On the 19th December 2017, the 'Minister for Policing and the Fire Service' announced a reduced level of Police funding, in real terms, for 2018/19 - leaving council tax payers to pick up the difference.
With police budgets having to absorb unprecedented demand, growing inflation levels, and the cost of a Government awarded police pay rise without providing any additional funding, the proposed flat Police cash settlement for 2018/19 meant that all PCCs faced a central government funding reduction in real terms.
Dorset's PCC, Martyn Underhill, said then:
I am disappointed that the Government did not provide any additional finances for Dorset in next year’s police grant settlement. Like forces nationally, I have worked closely with Dorset Police to deliver substantial efficiency savings of £37.3m since 2010/11.
To compensate for this, the Government gave PCCs additional flexibility to be able to raise their local policing precept by £1 a month/Band D property.
Hugo Miéville, the North Dorset Liberal Democrats Spokesman, said then:
The policy is a mirror-image of the one recently adopted by the Government in respect of social care spending. County councils have been allowed to raise funding for social care by raising an extra, dedicated council tax. It cannot be right that the Government keeps asking local tax-payers - in this case the tax-payers of Dorset - to pay more each year for matters of national policy.
The police funding formula places rural forces like Dorset at a distinct disadvantage, since other forces receive around three quarters of their overall funding from central government - while Dorset receives only roughly half of its funding in this way. In any case, with its relative small population, this extra precept will contribute much less in rural areas compared with more densely populated urban areas.
Hugo Miéville, the North Dorset Liberal Democrats Spokesman, also said:
The Government's refusal to take responsibility for funding essential public services, by transferring the burden to local authorities, is a dereliction of duty. The Liberal Democrats are calling for the Government to fully fund the care of our senior citizens, and the protection and safety of us all, from the National Exchequer to which we all contribute through our taxes.
Proposed Police Funding Increase in Dorset
The Dorset PCC held a consultation on the proposal to raise the council tax precept by £1/month/Band D property for the funding of the Dorset Police. This consultation ended on the 28th January, and then, on the 30th January, the Dorset PCC announced Dorset residents had approved the proposal. The 'Dorset Police and Crime Panel' (consisting of Dorset county/district/unitary councillors) then met on the 1st February to also approve the proposal.
Therefore - the extra precept of £1/month/Band D property for Dorset Police funding will be added to Dorset's 2018/19 council tax - to be collected from 1st April 2018.