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What do you think? Cambridgeshire's Fire and police services propose rise in Council Tax

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Council Tax payers are facing a hike in the amount they pay towards the county's police and fire services.

Both organisations have launched a public consultation asking people what they think about paying more for the services.

Cambridgeshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston launched his consultation on whether or not Council Tax payers would be willing to pay an extra £10 per year per household - that's an additional 83p a month for an average Band D property.

Meanwhile Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service is looking for a below inflation increase of just £1.44 for the year - that's a rise of around two per cent and means an average Band D household would be paying £74.97 for the service in 2022/23.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston is looking for an extra £10 a year from Council Tax payers.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston is looking for an extra £10 a year from Council Tax payers.

Meanwhile Fenland District Council is once again looking to keep its share of the Council Tax the same with a proposal of no increase in the offing.

Fenland's council leader Chris Boden said: "We have a policy of a zero per cent rise in Council Tax, that is our target and I hope we will be able to achieve that again this year, and again in the next five years.

"But I cannot promise that will happen, all I can do is promise that we will do everything we can to not raise our share of the Council Tax. It can never be a given, and circumstances are changing all the time."

Councillor Chris Boden. (54218267)
Councillor Chris Boden. (54218267)

Crime Commissioner Mr Preston said: "It’s my job to set the budget for the Constabulary - part of that is about determining how much people contribute through their council tax.

The public’s views are important to me, therefore in order to enable people living and working in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to tell me what matters to them when it comes to policing and crime, I am launching an online survey.

"I appreciate that 2021 has been an exceptionally challenging year for all of us. Throughout the last 12 months, our police officers, volunteers and staff have worked tirelessly alongside our other emergency service workers to help keep people safe, whilst responding to the usual calls for service.

Chair of the Fire Authority, Councillor Edna Murphy. (54218522)
Chair of the Fire Authority, Councillor Edna Murphy. (54218522)

"Thanks to the contribution people made to policing through their council tax last year, (2021-22, £15 per year based on a Band D property), the Chief Constable has been able to invest in the following:

"An additional 10 call handlers to help improve the 999 and 101 service;

"A new 24/7 Digital and Social Media Contact Desk to respond to increased online communication from the public, providing quick oversight of comments written on all Force social media posts, looking for reports of crime, intelligence and safeguarding issues;

"Early Intervention Domestic Abuse Desks with dedicated staff who provide safeguarding advice to officers at the scene of domestic incidents;

"A new Inclusion Officer who is helping to build support and enhance trust in the force across all communities;

"Digital Media Investigators within a newly created Cyber Crime Team to support frontline investigators and provide more support for victims;

"Four Cyber and On-Line Fraud Prevention Officers to help reduce cybercrime and online fraud through awareness-raising and other initiatives."

He continued: "As we plan the police budget for 2022/23, it is vital that we are able to meet rising costs and ensure the growth in new officers can be sustained so that the Constabulary's commitment to supporting our communities, which includes local policing, is maintained."

Adding the aim is to invest in three core areas which includes recruiting an additional 82 officers.

New investment will include increased resources to help tackle violence against women and girls; continuation of an innovative pilot scheme offering early intervention to young people and to provide expert digital evidence to tackle serious and organised crime such as county lines drug supply.

Meanwhile chair of the Fire Authority, Councillor Edna Murphy, said: “We know and fully appreciate that many of our residents are feeling the financial pressure from rising costs and the financial uncertainty that the pandemic has brought.

"We have reviewed everything we do to keep any increase in Council Tax to a minimum. We have an excellent track record of finding savings from within the organisation.

"However, after many years of doing this, it becomes increasingly challenging to do this without damaging service levels. This year we are also under pressure from inflation, increased energy and fuel prices and cost of living increases

"But we have worked hard to find savings and so can keep the council tax rise to a minimum - only £1.44 for the year for most residents. The additional income will enable us to be there for the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough delivering all our services, both reactive and proactive, that continue to keep people safe.”

The Fire Authority would like to know if you support this proposal. Have your say by completing this very short survey.

To have your say on the proposed increase for policing visit: https://www.cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/consultations-surveys/

Fenland District Council is also consulting on its business plan and proposed budget and to comment on that visit the council's website.

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