RESIDENTS in County Durham might have to fork out an extra 13.24 per cent on the amount of council tax which goes to the police service.

Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg is consulting on the increase in the precept which would equate to an additional £16 a year, or 31p a week, for a property in the lowest council tax band.

Mr Hogg said he has taken the decision to propose the hike in response to pressure from government.

He said: "I have been put in a position where, if I do not introduce this increase, I will be reducing the income of Durham Constabulary this year, and for every year afterwards.

"It will inevitably mean fewer police officers in the community, diminishing the capacity to prevent and solve crime.

"I cannot do that without risking the safety of the community.

"The increase will enable me to better protect neighbourhood policing, which is valued by our communities, and provides essential reassurance.”

Because funding from the precept accounts for about a quarter of the income of Durham Constabulary, the proposed increase will only grow the force’s overall base budget by 3.5 per cent.

Mr Hogg added: "The government has reduced the funding for policing in Durham and Darlington every year since 2010.

"We now have around 360 fewer officers than in 2010 – a reduction of 1 in 4.

"I have been lobbying the government throughout this period to fund policing fairly with a direct grant from Whitehall.

"I do not think that additional burdens should be placed on council tax payers, because in my view this abdicates ministers’ responsibility to protect our communities."

Members of the public have now until Thursday, January 31, to comment on the proposal.

“Durham Constabulary is rated as outstanding for efficiency, by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services," said Mr Hogg.

"That’s a consequence of the force’s commitment to innovation, making the very best use of the money available.

"We continue to invest in technology in order to find further efficiencies, but this gets harder every year."

Residents can provide their views in a number of ways, including through Facebook or Twitter by searching for Durham PCC or online at

Alternatively, views can be shared at Area Action Partnership Board meeting this month.