RESIDENTS are set to be charged more to support their police forces despite the Government announcing it was injecting £970m more into the service nationwide.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said to meet rising demand for services it was proposed the police element on Band D council tax bills would need to rise by 10.3 per cent, to £256.77, as in reality, its Government funding had seen a £2.2m cut in real terms.

Mrs Mulligan told a meeting of the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel the rise in council tax demand had taken into account both the risks facing the police service in terms of finances, and the clear messages received in the Neighbourhood Policing Survey she commissioned last year, of the need for more visible local policing.

In response to concerns raised in the survey, it has been proposed to create“community resilience teams” with a visible presence dedicated to crime prevention and enabling multi-agency working and mental health coordinators to support vulnerable residents and reduce the need for emergency secondary interventions.

Other proposals include increasing engagement with communities to understand what matters to the place with a focus on volume acquisitive crime and volume offenders.

After councillors raised concerns over whether the public were supportive of the “enormous amount you are looking to increase the precept by”, Mrs Mulligan said two-thirds of respondents to a consultation had indicated they were prepared to pay more for the police service.

She said setting the above-inflation precept it would enable the force to get “upstream of demand” for police services and “guarantee more police officers and police community support officers in local communities”.

Mrs Mulligan added the majority of commissioners across the country were also looking to raised their precepts by the maximum £24.

The Tory commissioner told members: “I feel slightly conflicted. I would much rather this money came from central government.”

The panel heard the force was facing increased pension costs of £3.6m that have been passed to the force by the Government.

Mrs Mulligan said setting the 10.3 per cent increase would enable the force to get officer numbers back to 2010 levels and create a record number of PCSOs.

“There is an opportunity to be much smarter of how we combine local policing and early intervention and prevention.

“We are not taking our foot off the savings ball.”

Families in County Durham and Darlington are also set to have to pay even more to support the police after local authority bosses agreed to support increasing the police precept on council tax bills by more than 13 per cent.

If the proposal is accepted by Durham County Council and Darlington Borough Council, it would see a Band D property have to fork out an extra £24 a year – from £181.24 up to £205.24.

Ron Hogg, the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) for Durham, was unable to attend the Police and Crime Panel at Durham County Hall which agreed to recommend the rise due to the wintry weather.

But in a report prepared for the committee in advance he said: “I recognise that households are under pressure and, whilst I deeply regret needing to ask local people to pay even more, I feel that this increase is necessary in order to maintain the excellent police force we have."

He added: “Rising costs, plus the looming threat of a new funding formula which would disadvantage us further, mean it is essential we maximise our resources.”

A consultation on the proposed rise to the police’s council tax precept finished on January 31 and received 502 responses, which Steve White, the PCVC’s chief executive, admitted was not "as big a number as I think everyone would like to see".

However, this was still 43 per cent more responses than last year’s precept consultation.

And of those who replied, almost 80 per cent were ‘accepting to come degree’ of the need for bills to rise, with about a fifth opposed.

Coun Lucy Hovvels, the panel’s chairwoman, said: “I think it is difficult for residents, but I think the general feeling a lot people support the police and the work that takes place across our communities.”

Some responses to the consultation had queried the need for a PCVC and whether the cost of running a PCVC office was justified.

This prompted Darlington councillor Marjory Knowles to ask whether members of the Police and Crime Panel should do more to promote the work of the PCVC.

But Mr White, who was appointed chief executive last year after five years as chairman and vice chairman of the Police Federation insisted that should be the responsibility of the PCVC.

He said: “My view is that isn’t for the panel to do – you are here to hold the PCVC to account and it is incumbent on the office to [of the PCVC] to explain the role of the commissioner.

“While we’ve been working very hard to do that I know there’s more we can do.

“My view is the three most important things we have to do is around communication, communication and communication and that will be key to the aims of the office.”

  • The Cleveland Police and Crime Panel voted to raise Cleveland’s police precept by 10.6 per cent this year.

It came as Parliament voted that it should receive a 5.77 per cent increase in Government funding compared to an average rise of 7.2 per cent nationally. Labour’s Redcar MP  Anna Turley said the increase was ‘disgraceful’ and left Cleveland Police ‘at the bottom of the pile’.

However Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Simon Clarke said: “It’s easy to muddy the waters by saying it’s a small increase compared to other forces that serve much larger populations but the truth is that Cleveland has the third highest funding per head of population of all the 43 forces in England and Wales – £221.48 this year.

“This is the highest outside London.”