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Gloucestershire - will you pay more council tax to boost police funds?

By EchoMichael  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

Gloucestershire Police Commissioner Martin Surl

Gloucestershire Police Commissioner Martin Surl

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SHOULD council tax be increased to make up for Government cuts to the police budget?

That’s the question Gloucestershire’s police and crime commissioner Martin Surl is asking the public and businesses.

Gloucestershire police’s budget comes from a Government grant and local council tax, and the coalition has decided to reduce its payout by almost two percent.

The Police Authority, which was responsible for the constabulary’s budget before it was disbanded, was planning to raise its share of council tax by 3.9 per cent.

However, Mr Surl wants to get public feedback on whether council tax should be increased.

He said: “On the one hand the Government is suggesting we freeze council tax but on the other it’s reduced our grant by nearly two per cent.

“If we leave the tax as it is, we won’t be able to absorb the cuts the Government expects us to make next year and in subsequent years which could affect frontline services and our ability to reduce crime and increase peace and good order in the county.

“If we use our reserves, which has also been suggested in Whitehall, we would have no money to replace ageing equipment or improve our infrastructure.”

To have your say, email Mr Surl at budget@gloucestershire.police.uk or write to 1 Waterwells, Waterwells Drive, Quedgeley, Gloucester, GL2 2AN.

Comments have to be in by noon on January 25.

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  • Chas_Townley  |  January 18 2013, 9:03PM

    If I've understood the back story to this correctly - this is the last year all council tax raising authorities (county, parish, district and Police) can impose above inflation rises without a referendum. Therefore if there is a year to go for an above inflation rise its this year then its in the base budget for future years And I guess we are back to the issue that the former Chief resigned about - the failure of the Police Authority to back his proposed budget. But will Mr Surl be able to deliver on his promises if he doesn't get the increase?

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  • Alphonso2  |  January 18 2013, 6:53PM

    To quantify this, we are looking at somewhere between £6 and £10 per house per YEAR. The former Police Authority's acceptance of additional government money last year was on the condition that even more cuts would be necessary over the subsequent 4 years. Even in tough times we should be prepared to pay this tiny extra amount to ensure our safety

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  • geraint2010  |  January 18 2013, 2:21PM

    Er, no Mr Surl. Amalgamate our tiny police force with Warwickshire or West Mercia and you'll find all the savings needed by scrapping unnecessary duplication - including your job!

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  • Walker100  |  January 18 2013, 1:56PM

    IsitJimKerr, I actually wrote to the Chief Constable that begged for us to allow the increase and understand that he needed more cars and officers to reduce crime. I asked him if we could have our money back if the new cars and officers didn't reduce crime......Strangely I never got a reply!!

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  • IsitJimKerr  |  January 18 2013, 10:29AM

    Gloucestershire - will you pay more council tax to boost police funds?'........errrr....NO, NO, NO! Mr Surl put in his manifesto BEFORE being elected; 'I have studied the constabulary's finances and my experience in handling multi-million pound budgets here and when representing the UK abroad gives me every confidence this can be achieved.' If he can't deal with just a 2% reduction in funding, then we have definitely elected the wrong person. I seem to remember a Chief Constable asking for extra money a few years ago. I then remember seeing more BMW's parked in HQ, and more appearances at lunches, as photographed in TiG.....purely coincidental, I'm sure. What with Plebgate and Hillsborough, we need to see that the Police are honest and are actually there to protect us, not just nab us for doing 33 in a 30, etc, etc.

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  • Aletheia  |  January 18 2013, 12:40AM

    by Ysedra Thursday, January 17 2013, 2:37PM "If you want to improve the performance of the police without putting more money in, you'll have to bridge the existing (and in my view, growing) gulf of mistrust between officers and the public. The more the public are on your side, the more you can accomplish in the community." Yes, but police officers are not recruited from Mars, they come from the general public. If you believe your police are largely dishonest and cannot be trusted then that could only be a reflection of the public themselves. The saying is that the public get the police they deserve!

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  • Aletheia  |  January 18 2013, 12:35AM

    Am I wrong or did he say that he was not going to be asking for more money if he won the vote? I am glad that Martin Surl won, being an independent ex officer, as opposed to another politician in another place of power. When we already have had ample evidence that fraud is rife on the House of Commons expenditure claim forms, they demonstrated that they would be totally unsuitable to be in a policing role. What I would like to know is exactly what it does cost to have a police commissioner as opposed to a police authority? Has anyone else noticed that nobody has come up with a comparison yet? We haven't even been told how many staff Mr Surl has. Is it one or a hundred? What is the overall bill which would encompass wages, stationery, publicity, offices etc? Why the big secret? Come on, tell us what it cost for the old police authority compared to the new commissioner role. Then and only then would I even remotely consider paying more because I want to know where my money is being spent and if the answer is on the extra cost of this new post, the answer is definitely no!

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  • safeandnice  |  January 17 2013, 10:50PM

    is the first question -should anyone in public serveice be earning more than £65,000? The new chief is on almost twice that. Mr Surl has said half of his £65k goes to charity to benefit victims of crime. Any other public servants going to follow suit? Then ask us about council tax

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  • Coingrass  |  January 17 2013, 10:18PM

    There are about 600,000 people in the county. To raise £4 million for the police works out at £6.75 per person. To put that into context, The Leisure Centre at Cheltenham lost over £1.6 million last year and cost every person in Cheltenham about £14 to subsidise. The average cost of a burglary is £3,500; of a car theft £4,800; of a wounding £19,000 and a murder £1.1 million. If an extra £4 million a year can reduce the cost of crime and all the trauma that goes with it, then it's money well spent. It's a no-brainer - give 'em the money!

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  • QuedgeleyGuy  |  January 17 2013, 10:02PM

    My answer be NO! The goverment is awash with money yet wastes it on themselves. Cut out the taxpayer funded trips around the world by a never ending group of ministries. Also cut out the interference in foreign wars that have nothing to do with us. Use the savings to employ full rate coppers and not the monkeys we'll get by paying them peanuts.

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