Lesley Bushnell and the Lib Dem Focus Team

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Police funding cut nationally. What does this mean locally?

by lesleybushnell on 18 February, 2018

Surrey Police face a £1.9m real-terms cut in Government funding

– and Council taxpayers must plug the gap

Paul Kennedt police

Councillor Paul Kennedy

In December 2017, the government announced that core funding for police budgets will remain exactly the same as the current year. With inflation now running at 3.1%, due to Brexit, that means Surrey Police funding will face a £1.9 million cut in real terms. The government’s claims that they are investing in the police nationally, would be totally dependent on local Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) raising the police precept in their areas, something the Liberal Democrats have branded a “stealth council tax rise.”

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (and former PCC candidate for Surrey) Mole Valley District Councillor Paul Kennedy commented:

“The Conservatives are ignoring calls from senior officers to increase investment in our police. The impact of this cut in police budgets will be felt in our communities and in our streets. With crime rising, the government should have increased police budgets in real terms. Even the Conservatives’ attempt at a stealth council tax rise won’t be enough to protect local police forces.”

The Liberal Democrats warned that this would happen to police funding in Surrey and then …

In February 2018, that is exactly what has happened. The elected PCC, David Munro announced a 5.3% hike in the police share of the County Council Tax which equates to a rise of around £12 per household (for a band D property).

Meanwhile locally, you might expect the same or better services for our increased taxes, but no – Surrey Police has announced the closure of the front desk at the Mole Valley offices at Pippbrook in Dorking. The decision was taken without any consultation with Councillors and Council officers.

Margaret CookseyLiberal Democrat Councillor, Margaret Cooksey, spoke out against the closure of the desk at the Police and Crime Panel meeting in early February, but sadly was not supported by the Conservative majority on the Panel, all of whom supported a budget which included this closure and the closure of 4 other Front Desks across the County. Mole Valley is now left without a single point of contact where police staff are available to discuss issues with members of the public on a one-to-one personal basis. Councillor Cooksey will be campaigning to keep this facility open and hopes to be supported by other Council representatives.

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