Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner considering council tax increase

Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd. Picture: Supplied by Mr Lloyd's office.

Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd. Picture: Supplied by Mr Lloyd's office. - Credit: Archant

The ‘significant threat’ posed by serious crime has prompted Hertfordshire’s police and crime commissioner to consider increasing council tax.

Under new powers from the Government, commissioner David Lloyd can increase the police’s council tax precept by £24 a year for Band D households.

Mr Lloyd said: “Nationally, serious violence is at the highest levels in the last seven years and represents a significant threat.

“Hertfordshire Constabulary has also seen increases in reported fraud, cyber crime and other emerging crime types.

“While the capability of our detective teams remains excellent to deal with each of these threats, I also recognise it represents additional pressure on the force’s resources and further investment is needed to build additional capacity and develop our capability to ensure that we continue to meet those demands.”

While the Chief Constable is responsible for operational matters, the Police and Crime Commissioner is responsible for setting the budget for Herts police.

A precept is a section of council tax given to organisations such as the police, parish councils and district and borough councils.

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Mr Lloyd said: “This rise will ensure taxpayers continue to receive a first-class policing service that protects the public from harm and still delivers a service that is value for money.”

If he does increase council tax, Mr Lloyd would be increasing Herts police’s budget by five per cent, equivalent to £10.7m.

Part of the money from the precept increase would be used to hire more police officers, bringing Hertfordshire’s total number to over 2,000.

“These are my thoughts, but I want to hear your views on the amount you pay for policing in Hertfordshire,” Mr Lloyd added.

“I need your views and comments to help me determine whether this is the right decision or not for Hertfordshire.

“This is your chance to have a say on the amount you pay for policing across Hertfordshire.”

To give your comments, send them to your.views@herts.pcc.pnn.gov.uk or mail them to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, 15 Vaughan Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 4GZ by January 7 2019.

Hertfordshire’s Liberal Democrat group leader, county councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, said: “While of course Lib Dems welcome any extra money for the police if it leads to more police on the streets, it is unfair that, with a further council tax rise, the poorest in society will pay pro rata the greater percentage of their income.

“Police costs should be met from general taxation so that the richest in society pay more.

“However the arrangement of having a Police and Crime Commissioner allows the government to push its responsibilities and burden onto to the hard-pressed council tax payers - who have to pay based on the council tax banding of their home rather than based on income.

“It allows for differences between police forces and that is wrong. The taxpayer is being asked to pay the bill for the commissioner’s empire building

“Our view is clear that the expensive role of the Police and Crime Commissioner hould go - especially as in this case he wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds on trying to take over Herts Fire service despite it being opposed successfully by all political parties in Herts.”

“That money could have been better spent on policing.”