A Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has accused the Government of grabbing responsibility from local politicians for setting the sum householders have to pay towards the cost of their police force.
The precept – cash raised towards policing alongside Council Tax – is ultimately the responsibility of each force’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
But in South Yorkhshire, PCC Dr Alan Billings has accused the Home Office of sending an unwritten message which provides him with no practical alternative to setting the top limit they will authorise – an increase of 14 per cent on last year.
That came against a backdrop of figures which showed Barnsley and Doncaster were among the top ten areas affected by Government austerity cuts.
He said Government policy left him “between a rock and a hard place” of acknowledging residents’ hardship but also needing to finance policing, which was likely to need asking the Home Office for additional grants to pay for costs from earlier eras, such as the Hillsborough disaster.
“I think the message is very clear, that if you don’t take the opportunity to raise the money locally, don’t come knocking on our door,” he said.
“It is almost as though the precept is being set nationally, where it should be set locally.
“I think that is a dangerous route for the Government to be going down,” he said.