Avon and Somerset PCC claims public favour more cash for police

Yeovil Express: Avon and Somerset PCC Sue Mountstevens. Avon and Somerset PCC Sue Mountstevens.

OVER 3,000 people have told Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens what they would be prepared to pay for policing in their council tax.

Since May, Ms Mountstevens has been consulting over the policing part of council tax and asking residents how much they would be happy to pay, and most – 74.6% – favour a rise of 2% or more.

Nearly one-third – 28.3% – favour a rise of up to 10%, an extra £16.80 on top of the £168 a year the average Avon and Somerset household pays towards policing.

Some 22% of respondents favour a freeze to the policing part of council tax.

Ms Mountstevens said: “It has been fantastic meeting and talking to residents about this issue.

“With household bills increasing it’s only right that I seek their views.

“It helps my decision-making to know people are prepared to pay more towards policing, and I’ll obviously look at all ways the police can make further savings as well as any incentives from the Government to continue to freeze the policing part of council tax.

“The policing part of council tax has been frozen for three years, and with reductions in government funding, inflation and essential costs, such as fuel and national insurance, rising it’s now right that we look at the prospect of an increase in the policing part of council tax.”

Despite a possible increase in the policing part of council tax of up to 2% (£3.36 a year), the police would have to find savings of £11.9million.

Money for policing from the Government has reduced since October, 2010, and by April next year Avon and Somerset Police will have made £34.4million savings.

The police and crime panel has discussed the options ahead of a final decision on the police budget in February.

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