Council tax to be used to foot policing bill

Beds PCC Kathryn Holloway
Beds PCC Kathryn Holloway

A plea by Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner for more Government money for policing in the county has been ignored.

In the latest funding settlement for police forces across the country Bedfordshire has been told there is no more cash but the PCC, Kathryn Holloway has been told she can raise money through the council tax without holding a referendum.

Mrs Holloway said: “Sadly I am still being promised ‘jam tomorrow’ as the Policing Minister pledged to me yesterday, and in the House of Commons, in reply to South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous, that the Government will look at Bedfordshire Police’s historically unfair share of the national police funding ‘cake’ at the next Spending Review, in two years’ time.

Mrs Holloway had put forward a case for £10 million a year in extra funding to pay for 300 Frontline officers and 80 detectives to bring the Force to a level comparable with those facing similar challenges including the third highest terror threat in the country, cross-over Serious Organised Crime from London, a growing serious youth violence issue and as the county where 40% of all shots fired in the (7 Force) Eastern Region are discharged.

Although the Government grant available to Bedfordshire Police has been held at the identical level to last year the PCC will have room for manoeuvre, for the first time, to be able to raise council tax above 1.99% without having to hold a referendum.

But a statement from Beds police said this will not produce the £12 per household that has been stated - this is just an average for Band D homes.

The amount will be below this for those below Band D, and slightly above it for the rest and will bring in just shy of £3 million for Bedfordshire Police on current calculations (£2.988 million).

“I will continue to fight Bedfordshire’s corner. I have already asked the Policing Minister to back a case for payment for more Community officers in Luton from the £50 million new Counter Terror money, for example,” said Mrs Holloway.