Members of the Police, Fire and Crime Panel have supported the Staffordshire Commissioner’s proposed precept increase of 4.83% for Police and 4.85% for Fire.
During the public meetings the panel scrutinised Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime Commissioner, Ben Adams’ budget plans and his proposals to increase the amount of council tax residents in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent pay.
Funding for Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire & Rescue service is made up of a mix of central government grants, combined with the ‘precept’ – the contribution residents make as part of their annual council tax.
The budget plans for the services were outlined to the Panel, including the level of council tax raised for Police and Fire services across the county.
The policing element of an average band D council tax bill will now increase by £12 a year, or £1 extra a month. The fire element of an average band D Council tax bill will increase by £3.90 a year, or 33p extra a month. These increases will provide an additional £6m for local Police services and £1.9m for Fire services. These additional funds will mean more service improvements while securing the future of our Police and Fire & Rescue services.
Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime, Ben Adams said: “It is my duty to secure effective and efficient Police and Fire & Rescue services that ensure community needs are met while commissioning services to prevent crime, reduce anti-social behaviour (ASB) and support victims across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
“Significant progress has been made this year. Our Police are now more local, more visible and more responsive. 999 and 101 are improving rapidly and the service is now aiming to have 2000 officers by April 2024, 400 more than 2019.
“Our Fire & Rescue service have tackled more incidents, many due to climate change, and continue to target prevention activity at the most vulnerable while doing even more to support the NHS.
“My office and partners are working to support more victims, notably those impacted by domestic abuse. Staffordshire crime and ASB levels remain low and our services remain focussed on keeping our roads, homes and businesses safe.
“We all face financial uncertainty due to the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and high inflation so setting this budget has been testing but the financial position in Staffordshire is relatively strong and allows for investment thanks to both services exceeding their savings targets.
“I will always aim to keep council tax as low as possible and I am very aware of the pressures on household budgets which is why my proposed increases for 2023/24 are lower than the limits set by government and below headline inflation rates. With the investment set out in these budget plans it is my expectation that our Chief Constable, Chris Noble, and our Chief Fire Officer, Rob Barber, will have the resources they need to continue to keep us all safe.”