Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold has launched a survey asking the public for their views on fire and police funding and the precepts for the coming year.
The fire and police precepts are the amount that Northamptonshire residents pay towards the fire service and policing through their council tax – together, both precepts amount to around 18% of the council tax a household pays.
Over the last four years, the support given by local people through the precept has enabled both Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and Northamptonshire Police to invest in how they keep people safe, with more firefighters, more police officers and resources put into key areas of work.
Now Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold is asking people how much they are prepared to pay to keep resources for the fire service and policing at the current level.
Stephen Mold is recommending an increase of £5 a year in the fire precept for 2024/25, and of £15 a year in the policing precept for a Band D household, which is the amount of funding both services need to sustain both budgets at their current level and meet cost pressures.
He said: “I know how hard the cost-of-living crisis has been for people, and I don’t propose an increase in the fire and police precepts lightly, so I genuinely want to know how much people are prepared to pay towards their local emergency services.”
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has benefitted from investment over the last four years, including a major £10m programme of capital investment that has given firefighters the most modern equipment.
Eight new, next generation fire appliances and a 42-metre turntable ladder have joined the fleet, with four more on order, ensuring firefighters have the best possible equipment to keep the county safe. There are also more wholetime firefighters than there were in 2019, with an increase from 242 to 254.
It costs around £29m to supply fire and rescue services in Northamptonshire each year. Around 64% of that is raised through the council tax from residents, with 22% coming from business rates, and 14% from central government grants.
It also costs around £168 million to provide policing and victim services in Northamptonshire each year. Around 45% of that funding is raised through the council tax from county residents, with 55% coming from central government grants.
Northamptonshire Police now has 1,500 police officers, which is more than ever before. This has enabled the Force to put more resources into areas of policing that local people have said matter the most to them, including neighbourhood policing, roads policing and rural crime. There have also been significant investments into technology, including in systems like ANPR, to help keep the county safe.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “Over the last seven years, I have worked hard to make sure that both Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and Northamptonshire Police can deliver efficient, effective services. I need to know if people are prepared to invest further so that these investments can be sustained.”
The online survey takes around 15 minutes to complete and explains the impact that different council tax precept options would have on the fire and policing budgets.
You can complete the survey by clicking on the following link: https://www.research.net/r/PreceptConfidence2024-25
The survey closes on 14 January 2024 and the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner will then take his recommendations to a meeting of Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel in February.