What would you pay for police and fire services?
orthamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold has launched a budget consultation to ask people about their priorities for the county’s fire and police services, and how much they would pay towards them.
The PFCC has responsibility for setting the budget for both Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and Northamptonshire Police. The budgets are made up from money raised through the council tax and from central government grants.
Around 18% of the total council tax bill paid by a Northamptonshire household goes towards policing and fire services.
Budget setting for the next financial year is now taking place and the Commissioner is considering the level of council tax precept to set for police and fire.
Both police officer and firefighter numbers in Northamptonshire have grown significantly: there are now 1367 police officers compared to 1170 four years ago, with plans for a further 130 officers in the next two years. This has enabled the number of police officers working in neighbourhoods and rural crime to be increased.
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has recruited 20 firefighters, with a further 12 to be recruited to brand new posts and begun a programme of investment to replace outdated fire appliances and equipment.
This year’s budget is likely to be more challenging, set against the context of the pandemic and its effect on the financial situation and the local and national economy.
Now the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner is asking people to share their priorities and asking their views on the level of the police and fire precept for the coming year.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “Both fire and police services in Northamptonshire have seen significant investment over the last few years, thanks in no small part to the contribution and support of local people through their council tax.
“I know that the pandemic has had a major impact on everybody in the county. It has affected our improvement plans and progress and of course, it could well affect the level of income we receive. That will be hard for Northamptonshire Police and much more difficult for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, that came across to my governance with a very poor financial position.
“We are looking at ways to ensure that we always give value for money and I have already reduced my own costs. I have asked the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer to work more closely together to share services and buildings both to be more effective and more financially efficient.
“This year more than ever, I want to hear from people about their priorities and what they think about the service they receive from police and fire. This will help me to plan and find ways of building on and sustaining the improvements and growth that we have achieved.”
The consultation can be found NORTHAMPTONSHIRE POLICE, FIRE AND CRIME COMMISSIONERPublic Consultation: Council Tax Questionnaire 2021/2022 Survey (surveymonkey.co.uk) and the deadline is 11 January 2021.
All responses will be considered by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in deciding the level of council tax precept. The Commissioner’s recommendation will be considered by the Police, Fire and Crime Panel on 4 February 2021 at a meeting held in public.