Proposed council tax hike would pay for more police officers

A further 60 Officers will be recruited by Lincolnshire Police next year and a new team dedicated to fighting crime and saving lives on Lincolnshire’s roads created under new plans revealed today.

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones

The plans are part of a host of projects identified by Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable that will be green-lighted if a proposed lift in Council Tax is agreed.

To pay for the measures designed to improve community safety PCC Marc Jones is proposing a rise of between 20p and 26p a week for most households – which accounts for 5.9% of the policing element of Council Tax – which will deliver an additional £2.9m in funding.

The proposed rise comes just days after the results in the PCC’s annual survey showed overwhelming support for an even larger increase than the one proposed.

The survey, completed by 3,243 people, asked respondents how much more they were prepared to pay in Council Tax – with 87 per cent agreeing to pay more.

In fact 77 per cent of people said they were prepared to pay 10 percent or more and in every council district more than a third said they were willing to pay a 20 per cent increase.

Mr Jones said: “The outcome of the research is at odds with my personal feelings that given the current challenging situation for the personal finances of many in our community even a modest rise of around £1 a month would be too much to ask.

“I have, however, made no secret in previous years that I would respect the outcome of these robust consultations and so I cannot, in all conscience, choose to ignore it this year.

“The public have spoken. They have said no to a freeze in Council Tax and a reduction in policing and officer numbers and yes to a pound or so a month increase, as long as it’s directed to frontline policing. I have listened and I have worked with the Chief to develop crime reducing measures that will keep our communities even safer into the future.

“We remain one of the lowest funded police forces in the country – spending less than almost any other area in the UK on policing – but we have been innovative in using that money wisely to keep one step ahead of criminals and we have more new officers hitting our streets than in many years.

“I want to thank the people of Lincolnshire for their support which is never taken for granted and to assure you all that your £1 a month will be spent on crime prevention and crime fighting measures that will keep us all safer together.”

The establishment of specialist teams to drive down community crime in both rural and urban areas, more tasers for frontline officers, an increase in armed response units to tackle violent crime and investment in new technology to give better public access to the police are all on the list of priorities.

The recruitment of the extra 60 officers in the 2021/22 financial year will be in addition to 54 new officers posts already planned.