Households across Newcastle and the North East are being asked to contribute an extra 56p a month to help local policing as the Police and Crime Commissioner says she has been 'forced into a corner'.
The 56p a month police precept increase comes as rising costs hit Northumbria Police with Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness saying that calls to the Government for extra Northumbria Police funding remain unanswered.
The Force is currently facing a need to find more than £8 million in savings to fund operations, a figure which would rise to £12 million without the rise in payments.
Ms McGuinness outlined two options that she has at her disposal. The first is the 6.5% increase, equating to 56p per month, or £6.67 per year, for a Band A property. The other option would be no increase, which the Commissioner outlines as equivalent to a cut to the budget. Northumbria Police would have to find an estimated £4m in additional savings, on top of the £8.5m already needed.
Ms McGuinness said: “Our Government seems in denial about the dire situation of police funding, particularly in the North East. They seem intent on passing the police bill onto the local taxpayer. Well, how does the local taxpayer feel about this? Especially after a decade of austerity, along with the cost of living crisis. That’s what my survey seeks to find out.
“Northumbria Police is up against significant financial pressure right now, and we need the money to come from somewhere. I am being pushed into a corner on this - forced to ask local people to pay more in taxes to fund their force. And this is at a time when so many North East families are suffering real hardship.
“I’ve written to the Home Secretary calling for additional funding. She needs to look beyond balancing the books, to listen to the boots on the ground and help the families they’re serving. Government has a choice when it comes to how much it’s paying for policing and the people of our area need to be given a choice for how much they pay too.”
Chief Constable of Northumbria Police Winton Keenen QPM added that without extra funding, the 'ambitions' of the Force would be undermined. He said: “As is being felt by so many other organisations, our Force is not immune to the financial pressures arising from the current cost of living and the various effects of inflation.
“As such, whilst we will always do the very best with whatever finances we are allocated, it is a reality that insufficient funding will undermine the ambitions we have for Northumbria Police.
“If we are to continue to build on the strong foundations highlighted in the Force’s recent inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) - and provide the levels of service our communities deserve - we need the finance and resourcing to be able to do so.”