Letter: Outrageous hike in my police and crime commissioner tax
SIR – My 2021/22 council tax bill from New Forest District Council shows an increase of 4.7% over the bill for the previous year. Within that, the police and crime commissioner (PCC) element is 7.1% higher than the year before which is outrageous if compared with the latest available annual increase in the Consumer Price Index (all items) of 0.4%.
Even looking at the longer term, policing costs have increased well above the other elements of my council tax bill. In the past five years the policing cost element has increased by a whopping 41.13% compared with the fire service 12.51%, NFDC 15.79%, Hampshire County Council 11.19% and the parish council 13.53%.
The leaflet from Michael Lane, the commissioner, which accompanied my council tax bill, confirmed that he had accepted an increase in my council tax (thanks a lot!) based on the chief constable’s compelling operational case “to take the fight to criminals and enable better justice for victims”.
Apparently, the extra money I am paying will enable Hampshire Constabulary to respond to our community including the investigation of 26,000 more crimes this year, arresting 300 more of the most dangerous criminals, safeguarding 12,000 vulnerable people, continuing investment in wellbeing to sustain officers at the frontline (whatever that means) and target increased support to tackle rural crime… but it does not give any target.
This is all pie in the sky. Targets to aim for, laudable I am sure, but I will not be given the results actually achieved next year when I am asked for a further 7% or more. To pour salt on the wound, I have just received a polling card allowing me to vote in the election of the PCC for the Hampshire police area on 6th May.
In the end all I see are police stations closing, fewer police on the street, police indifference to certain offences, e.g. shoplifting, damage to property, increased bureaucracy (Hampshire PCC costs £1.9m per annum) and higher council tax bills.
God forbid that Hampshire follows some other part of the country and merges responsibility for the fire service with the PCC.