The police commissioner is proposing to raise the police element of the council tax by 7%. I have some sympathy with his view that if the government cuts funding then requires pay rises for police he has to find the funding from somewhere.
7% is a high percentage and when added to other rises in cost of living it clearly will have an impact on many people.
For that impact to be acceptable we need to see an increase in visible police presence across the County.
Unfortunately I have a feeling that we will not see this.
Press release from the police commissioner Ron Hogg:
In response to pressure from Government, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg has decided to increase the amount of Council Tax which goes to the police service, known as the precept, by 7.09%. This equates to an increase of £8 a year, or 15p a week for a property in Council Tax Band A. Members of the public are being asked to comment.
Ron Hogg said: “The Government has reduced the funding for policing in Durham and Darlington every year since 2010. We now have around 360 fewer officers than in 2010 – a reduction of 1 in 4.”
“I have been lobbying the Government for some years, to fund policing fairly. I did not expect the Government to respond by placing an additional burden on Council Tax payers. However, in my view they are abdicating their responsibility to protect our communities. This has put me in a position where, if I do not introduce this increase, I will be reducing the income of Durham Constabulary this year, and for every year afterwards. It will inevitably mean fewer Police Officers in the community, preventing and solving crime. I cannot do that without risking the safety of the community. The Government’s decision to relax the cap on the precept equates to an extra 15p per week for a property in Council Tax Band A.”
“Durham Constabulary is already the most efficient force in the country according to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services. That’s a consequence of the force’s commitment to innovation, making the very best use of the money available. We continue to challenge every facet of our business in order to find further efficiencies, but this gets harder every year. I welcomed the Government’s recent announcement of pay rises for Police Officers, but they have not provided me with the funding for this.”
Councillor Lucy Hovvels, Chair of the Police and Crime Panel said:
“Panel Members understand current financial pressures placed on policing budgets and support the Commissioner’s approach to seek comment from residents on this proposal”
Notes for editors:
For more information or to arrange an interview with the PCVC please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 07814174417
The public are able to comment on this proposal until Wednesday 31st January 2018. Residents are can provide their views in a number of ways, including:
- Through my website www.durham-pcc.gov.uk
- Through Facebook or Twitter (search for Durham PCC)
- On telephone on: 0191 375 2001
- At the AAP Boards during January 2018
o 10th January 2018 – 4together AAP Board
o 16th January 2018 – East Durham Rural Corridor AAP Board o 18th January 2018 – Spennymoor AAP Board
o 22nd January 2018 – Chester Le Street AAP Board
o 24th January 2018 – Teesdale AAP Board
o 24th January 2018 – Derwent Valley AAP Board
o 24thJanuary2018–BishopAucklandandShildonAAPBoard o 30th January 2018 – GAMP AAP Board
We have reported various issues in Framwellgate Moor this week, including flytipping, overflowing bins and litter around the Avenues area.
The Council’s cléan and green team have been asked to take action and we will be monitoring the area.
The Council’s housing solutions service provides advice to anyone facing housing problems including:
Anyone who is homeless or sleeping rough
Those who are struggling to pay their mortgage or rent,
Anyone living in unsuitable accommodation
Anyone at risk of abuse or harm
Anyone struggling to keep warm or to pay their bills.
If you or anyone you know is facing any of these issues, contact 03000 268 000. The Council offices are closed from today until 2nd January, however there is an out of hours number for those who cannot wait to get help by calling 01388 722 538.
Members of the public can report anyone who is sleeping rough to the national organisation StreetLink on 0300 500 0914 or at www.streetlink.org.uk
They will try to find the person and offer them help.
We have secured a really good deal on 200 decent sized trees and are seeking views from residents on the areas you want them. We already have various locations suggested either by us or residents, so please let us know. Current suggestions are:
Durham Moor Crescent to replace lost cherries.
The green area outside the police houses in Pity Me on the Front St
The bullring at Newton Drive
The playing field on Canterbury Road near Peterborough and the meadow area between Cotherstone and Featherstone Roads.
We have various Cherries, Oaks and fruit trees and a number roof other varieties too.
At the end of summer we attended the opening of the new sports hall at Framwellgate School Durham. It really is a fantastic facility and is available to the public for use as well.
There is an amazing climbing wall which I was one of the first to try and climb. Making it to the top without falling – although I was attached to wires!
As part of the building work we secured funding for a sculpture from s106 public art funding outside the centre. It really does look great and we would recommend taking a look.
As many of you will know, Labour councillors produced and forced through a flawed report on 20mph zones following our success in getting the Council to change its policies and agree to allowing 20mph zones. Shame on Labour for playing with Child safety. This meant that schools with fewer accidents in areas like Chester-le-Street where the council leader lives were prioritised over our area.
We secured a review and this showed that schools in our area should have been programmed in first.
The Council is now implementing this and is currently finalising consultation on the project. As part of this they did not plan to include schools in Newton Hall. We have used local funding to make sure that all the schools in our area are included.
This means that near all schools in our area from next year there will be flashing signs and 20mph zones at drop off and pick up times and at lunch times where appropriate.
We hope that this will help to bring down average speeds not just at school times but throughout the day making our area safer for pedestrians.
We are working with the Council on additional projects which will enhance the scheme and also help reduce speeds.
We have secured repairs and replacements for a number of bus shelters around the area.
Many shelters are being cleaned, and damaged perspex and glass is being replaced.
This includes the one at the entrance to Brasside on Finchale Avenue and the one near new college where we have also secured work to improve the crossing point for new college.
The one outside Vets for Pets and those near Beech Close and Priory Road on Finchale Road in Framwellgate Moor are also getting new glass installed.
The old brick shelter opposite the Newton Grange pub is also being replaced with a new clean one which should also deter people taking toilet breaks in it!
Another thank you: for electing all seven Lib Dem candidates to the parish council. Whilst this means we will have overall control of the council we aim to work for the benefit of everyone as closely as possible with the three independent and one Labour councillor also elected.
Next Thursday we are standing for re-election as your Lib Dem County Councillors. Please vote for Mark Wilkes, Mamie Simmons and Amanda Hopgood on Thursday 4th May.
We are getting a great response on the doorstep, with many residents also contacting us by email to confirm they are supporting us.
We also hope to get elected to the Parish Council along with our Lib Dem colleagues Nigel Martin, Grenville Holland, Colin Hillary and Clive Beddoes.