Police authority members approve tax freeze

DERBYSHIRE Police Authority last week agreed to freeze their share of the council tax bill.

Members of the authority decided to keep the policing element of the council tax bill at last year’s levels as a result of the financial hardship facing many residents, when they met last Thursday.

The decision means the authority will now qualify for a one-off Government grant of three per cent, worth an extra £1.6m.

However, despite the decision to freeze council tax the force said it intends to start recruiting additional Police Community Support Officers and police staff from April.

Chief Constable Mick Creedon had asked members of the authority to support an increase in the precept of up to 3.99 per cent which he said would have guaranteed the recruitment of additional police officers, PCSOs and police staff, but members decided against a rise.

Cllr Philip Hickson, chairman of Derbyshire Police Authority, said: “We are just as keen to protect Derbyshire’s ability to fight crime and respond to the public as the Chief Constable and realise the importance of expanding our frontline in the future.

“However, we feel that it isn’t fair to allow the public to bear the brunt of this responsibility and consider ourselves in a healthy enough position to launch a fresh recruitment drive with or without a rise in the precept.”

The Police Authority has already secured £15 million of the £19 million it needs to plug the funding gap which resulted from a 20 per cent reduction in its Government grant until 2015.