Avon and Somerset police and crime panel rejects Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens' s budget

First published in Thornbury News
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THE POLICE and crime panel has rejected the PCC's budget for Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens had proposed a budget of £279million, or £3million less than the previous financial year.

Ms Mountstevens was also planning to freeze the police share of council tax revenues for 2013/2014 for the third consecutive year.

The motion proved very unpopular with members of the panel who wanted this see the share, or precept, increase.

The panel voted 11 to five against freezing the police’s precept.

The police and crime panel only has power to veto the precept, not the whole budget package, if it is opposed by 12 members.

Despite opposition, Ms Mountstevens decided to go ahead with her initial proposal although she pledged to consider increasing the precept next year.
 

“I have listened carefully to what the police and crime panel has said today and I agree with them that freezing the council tax is not a long term solution," she said. "During the election campaign the view of residents was clear to me, many households are experiencing hard times and an increase in the policing part of the council tax would be felt.
 

“I took account of these views in my budget planning and, bearing in mind that we are treated unfairly by government funding, I felt that I could not turn away a government grant equivalent to a one per cent council tax increase. I will freeze the policing part of the council tax this year but I plan to have a full consultation with residents next year.”

Avon and Somerset Police force has received £179million in government grants for 2013/2014.

The draft budget had proposed to spend £275million on the constabulary, £1.5m on the office of the PCC and around £2.5million for the Community Safety Fund, which is spent on local projects.

Avon and Somerset police's Police and Crime Plan will be published at the end of March.

The public consultation on the plan is set to end on February 22.

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