Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel approve precept increase

Lincolnshire Police.
Lincolnshire Police.

Lincolnshire residents will face an increase in their council tax after the county’s Police and Crime Panel voted through new budget plans this afternoon (Thursday).

The panel gave their backing to Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick’s proposed two per cent precept increase, as well as his Police and Crime Plan, at their meeting at Manby.

During the near-three hour meeting, councillors representing every district and borough council in Lincolnshire grilled Mr Hardwick over the planned increase which will cost the average taxpayer an extra 6p per week.

Mr Hardwick, as well as Lincolnshire Police’s Chief Constable Neil Rhodes, explained how the force was at a ‘tipping point’ and had already squeezed every penny from their budgets.

The force has had to contend with massive cuts from central government, culminating in a £20million black hole by 2014/15.

In his Police and Crime Plan, which was voted through unanimously, the commissioner has pledged to keep 1,100 officers on the beat across the county, taking on another 23 in the near future.

He said he wanted ‘boots on the ground’ and promised to demonstrate that Lincolnshire Police was not ‘Lincoln central’.

Councillor Stephen Woodliffe, of Boston Borough Council, did propose that the precept increase be pegged at one per cent, but the vote was lost.

Afterwards, Alan Hardwick said: “I expected to be challenged and I expected my plan to be challenged, but at the end of the day the majority of the Police and Crime panel saw the wisdom of an increase which will mean an extra 6p per week for the vast majority of council tax payers in Lincolnshire.

“Money is short everywhere but I know with this two per cent increase and my other elements in my Police and Crime Plan that we can continue to keep Lincolnshire one of the safest counties in the country.”