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Policing Precept Survey


Background to the policing precept

Each year a portion of your council tax bill contributes to the police service in your area, this is known as the ‘precept’. Currently around three quarters of the funding for Humberside Police comes from Central Government and one quarter comes from the council tax precept. The amount of precept you pay depends on the Council Tax band for your home. You can check the band for your property online by entering your postcode at

Since 2012 the responsibility for setting the annual Council Tax Precept for policing has fallen to Police and Crime Commissioners and following my election to the role in May 2016 I will soon be making the decision for the first time.

You will no doubt be aware that since 2008 Humberside Police, along with all other police forces and public sector organisations nationally, have had to deal with significant cuts to their budgets from central government. When great savings have to be made all steps are taken to find more efficient ways of working but there are limits as to the extent and speed with which such efficiency savings can be delivered without completely undermining the service to the public. Once all reasonable steps have been initiated or taken the only thing that can be cut is the workforce.

Since the Government’s spending review began Humberside Police has lost around 700 police officers and a further 500 support staff which equates to around a quarter of its total workforce. I am all for efficiency but such a drastic reduction in a service is bound to have an effect on how it works. When the responsibility of that service is to protect the public it becomes a serious concern.

During the election campaign I spoke to many members of the public who shared my concerns. They told me they rarely saw a neighbourhood police officer or PCSO walking the beat, they had growing problems with anti-social behaviour in the neighbourhood and it wasn’t being dealt with as they wanted. Some of them told me they just didn’t feel safe anymore. That cannot be acceptable. It’s very easy to point the finger of blame at the police themselves, and this is sometimes justified, but the fact is they are working very hard under extremely challenging circumstances to do more with less.

In the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent autumn statement the government indicated the total amount spent on police in England and Wales in 2017/2018 will remain unchanged from last year; but there are three very important provisos.

  • The first is that this protection is in ‘cash terms’ which means no account is taken of inflation or pay awards or other cost pressures on the police budget. This translates into a real reduction in resources available to use on delivering policing services to you.
  • The second issue is that for even for the ‘cash term’ figure to be the same as in the previous year the government are assuming that every Police and Crime Commissioner will raise the precept by the maximum amount permissible and that is 1.99%. Without me doing that there will be an even greater reduction in funding available to provide you with policing services.
  • The third proviso is that the government will ‘top slice’ a proportion of the money intended for policing and hold onto this to deliver their pet policing projects, which prevents it being spent on local policing delivery.

As you will see, these three issues mean the ability to deliver the kind of policing communities tell me they want is being put at risk by continuing cuts from central government. I will work hard to get additional money from central government but we have to be realistic about that.

When I took office I decided to use some of the financial reserves held by Humberside Police to pay for more frontline officers and PCSOs. It has been used to recruit around 50 extra officers across the force area and they will have a positive influence in their communities for as long as we can afford to pay for additional officers, but that money has been taken from what is effectively a savings account and once it’s gone it’s gone. This does show though that I will spend whatever money I can identify trying to deliver what communities tell me they want.

Like most of you, I want to see more visible policing on our streets, more officers on the beat helping their communities with the problems that matter to them, which is why I feel I should increase the policing precept for 2017-18 by the 1.99% that the Government expect. This is the maximum available to me without triggering a referendum which would have some significant cost itself. This is not about growth it is about trying to protect the reduced service we have from further reductions.

What does this mean to you financially?

The table below shows how the annual precept for each household would increase, depending on the council tax band of your property. For example on a Band ‘D’ property the increase would be from £183.67 to £187.32 per annum, that’s an extra £3.65 over the whole year, equivalent to 1p per day or 7p per week. Overall, this increase would generate around £950,000 extra to spend on your police service.

Annual Council Tax Precept by Property Band
  Property Band     2016/17    2017/18     Proposed Annual Increase   
    £367.34     £374.64  £7.30

What will the extra money pay for?

As I mentioned earlier, I want to see an improvement in our neighbourhood policing service. Police officers and staff carry out a variety of duties from emergency response to criminal investigations, from roads policing to specialist roles such as firearms and counter terrorism, but at the core of all our policing services are our neighbourhood beat officers and PCSOs. They are the front line in our communities and provide the visible daily presence and reassurance that our residents expect. The money generated by an increase in the precept will actually go only part way to filling the hole in finances created by central government, but it will be brought together with ongoing efficiency savings and directed, as much as possible, on protecting and, where possible, enhancing neighbourhood policing teams and improving community safety. It’s what residents tell me they want and I will work hard to provide it.

My commitment to you is to ensure all the resources available to me as the Police and Crime Commissioner are directed as effectively and efficiently as possible to deliver the safer communities you say you want. Please indicate below whether you support or disagree with my proposal to raise the precept by 1.99% and, if you wish, your reasons for doing so, thank you.

Keith Hunter
Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside





Posted on Friday 23rd December 2016