Are you prepared to pay more money to support the police in Harborough?
Leicestershire Police are asking the tough question - are you prepared to fork out more money to support the police as they fight crime across Harborough?
Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach (PCC).wants to know if you are happy to pay more council tax to put more bobbies on the beat as the thin blue line gets even thinner.
Lord Bach, who lives near Lutterworth, has launched a critical online survey as he sets the all-important budget for 2020-21.
The former top criminal law barrister is now urging residents throughout Harborough district to spare a few minutes to share their views.
Lord Bach is asking people if they will shell out more to support policing next year and if they think Leicestershire should receive more central funding.
Between 2010 and 2018 the number of police officers in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland plunged by 541 – about 23 per cent.
And nationally numbers plummeted by 20,000 to their lowest level for 30 years.
The 2019-20 budget, with help from the extra funding raised through council tax, enabled the PCC to fund an extra 107 officers.
Eighty are being recruited in the 2019-20 financial year with the remaining 27 in 2020-21.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to recruit another 20,000 police in the next three years.
But Lord Bach warned it’s still unclear how many will be assigned to Leicestershire and how recruitment will be funded.
The former Mayor of Lutterworth said more are desperately needed to tackle new threats posed by terrorism, child sexual exploitation, human trafficking, modern slavery and online crime.
“I will not compromise your safety whilst we wait.
“We need to ensure we have funds in the future to sustain these numbers otherwise we will simply lose other resources to balance the budget.
“The increases in police numbers I have been able to make over the past few years have had an impact on crime locally.
“But the national picture is still a worrying one and the threats are very challenging,” insisted Lord Bach a former Justice Minister.
“Reductions in funding have been accompanied by a national increase in recorded crime.
“There are unavoidable costs which have to be met and which reduce the overall level of resources I have at my disposal.
“I’m keen to invest in our police.
“I want to ensure the force has the resources it needs to provide the type of police service you expect and deserve.”
About two thirds of police funding comes from central government – the rest is raised through the Council Tax.
“The government’s grant looks set to continue to decline in real terms.
“So that Leicestershire Police can provide the best possible service to local communities, I have little option but to consider increasing the policing element of your local council Band D tax bill,” said Lord Bach, a Labour life peer.
“This is in line with what the government has said it expects PCCs across the country to do.”
If you would like to have your say then fill in Lord Bach’s survey by visiting: https://www.leics.pcc.police.uk/Home.aspx