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5 February, 2020

Commissioner proposes precept increase to properly equip emergency services to keep us safe and feeling safe

North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner will tomorrow (Thursday 6 February) ask the Police, Fire and Crime Panel to agree how much residents will pay for policing and fire and rescue services in the year from April 2020 – known as the precept.

Julia Mulligan is proposing to raise the policing precept by 3.91% and the fire precept by 1.99% – this will mean an average of an average of an additional 19p per week on residents’ council tax (band D) for the financial year 2020/2021 for policing and 3p per week for the fire service.

Deciding to increase the amount invested in emergency services has been ‘incredibly difficult’, according to the Commissioner, who acknowledges there will be concerns about the rise. However, her recent survey of over 2,000 residents found the majority supported an increase to invest in policing and fire and rescue.

She says she is ‘convinced’ that it is needed to ensure the additional police officers funded by government are equipped properly and the workforce of both emergency services properly developed to ensure both keep North Yorkshire as safe as possible.

In detail:

  • Policing Precept
    • In response to the Commissioner’s survey, 69% supported an increase in the precept of at least 2.5% although only a third (34%) backed a rise at the level proposed.
    • The Police, Fire and Crime Panel will consider the proposal to set the Band D Police Element of the Council Tax within North Yorkshire for 2020/21 at £265.77. This is an increase of £10 per year, or 3.91% over the 2019/20 level. 
  • Fire & Rescue Service Precept
    • In response to the Commissioner’s survey, 58% of residents said they were support an increase of higher than the 1.99% being proposed. However, the government have decided that this is the highest rise allowed without a costly referendum.
    • The Panel is asked to consider my proposal to set the Band D Fire Element of the Council Tax within North Yorkshire for 2020/21 at £72.69. This is an increase of 1.99% or £1.42 per year over the 2019/20 level.

On the Policing Precept, Julia Mulligan said:

“With the total increase in funding from the Government totalling £6.8m, compared against the unavoidable cost increases of £10.6m, then the organisation needs £3.8m more in precept funding, in comparison to 2019/20, to deliver the required services in 2020/21.

“The increase I am suggesting is less than the 3.99 per cent proposed by North Yorkshire County Council and, although I know there will be concerns about the rise, I believe it is necessary to ensure we remain the safest place to live in the country.

“North Yorkshire has seen a significant increase in demand when it comes to domestic abuse, especially in some rural areas where victims are not receiving the service they should. We have also seen a huge rise in burglary and violent crime which is in relation to County Lines and we have not had any funding from the Government to help tackle this.

“I am convinced investment is needed to keep people safe and equip the additional police officers on our streets with the skills and resources they need to do that. This increase, though difficult, is necessary.”

On the Fire Precept, Julia Mulligan said:

“I am frustrated the government are not allowing us to increase the precept to a level which I and the Chief Fire Officer believe would allow us to invest properly in North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“Our survey shows that residents are very willing to invest in the protection and support they receive from our emergency services, so for Ministers to decide we can’t do that without a referendum – the costs of which I could not justify – is extremely disappointing.

“It will mean we need to make tough choices in the months and years ahead, and I want to be clear that there are no easy answers to cope with this funding shortfall.”