Typically, just over half of Dorset Police’s total budget comes from central Government with the majority of the remainder raised through council tax contributions, known as the policing precept.
Rather than providing a balanced funding settlement for policing, the Government has instead placed the responsibility for the majority of this year’s settlement with Police and Crime Commissioners, by enabling them to increase precept up to a maximum of *£24 per year.
Significantly, even if the precept is raised locally, the Government’s settlement does not fully address considerable funding strains such as the national public sector pension issue, the introduction of a new training regime, and new unfunded pay increase pressures, all of which have appeared on the landscape in the last year. In addition it does not fully address inflation.
Nor does it reverse the eight years of austerity that have left Dorset Police with the lowest number of officers since 1981.
However, now I have set the scene, some good news… If I do as the Government has asked, and raise the precept by £2 a month, both the Chief Constable and I believe that – providing we continue to relentlessly pursue efficiencies – this would provide the flexibility to ensure the Force will no longer be required to make the cuts that had been feared.
Indeed, the Chief Constable is confident that this flexibility would allow him to make improvements in a number of areas of emerging demand. Throughout 2019/20 he is seeking further efficiency savings so that Dorset Police can reinvest in areas such as rural crime, marine crime and tackling county lines drug networks. The Force is also committed to the introduction of volunteer police cadets, improvements to youth justice and a Bobby Van scheme, to help protect vulnerable members of the community.
I want to enable Dorset Police to maintain its current service and have the capacity to invest and improve in areas of emerging demand and that is why I am asking for £2 a month. Without this additional funding, the increasing financial pressures would mean that a reduction in workforce numbers would be inevitable.
Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey – your opinion is extremely important to me.
Police and Crime Commissioner