How will Labour fund a bobby back on the beat in every village?
At the election on Thursday 2ndMay, Labour candidates will pledge to put a Police Officer back on the beat in each village across North Warwickshire. Here we set out how we’ll fund that, what it means for Council Tax, what it means for community safety and why its legal and possible to do it within the Council’s budget.
What does a ‘bobby back on the beat’ actually mean?
Labour will provide a £2million grant, split over 4 annual payments to fund a 15 new community police officers across North Warwickshire.
How will Labour ensure these new Police Officers work in North Warwickshire?
A Labour Council would sign a service level agreement with Warwickshire Police to ensure these new officers are assigned to the Safer Neighbourhood Team in North Warwickshire with their senior officer being the Inspector for North Warwickshire.
We accept that in times of large-scale emergencies, officers are under the management of the Chief Constable to respond to people in need and rightly don’t respect local authority boundaries. We believe the safeguards in place through a service level agreement will ensure more Police walking the beat in our communities on a regular basis.
How much will this all cost?
We estimate the cost of training, recruiting, kitting out and paying an officer in year one would be £52,500.
In year 2 the cost would reduce to £30,520 because the recruitment and training costs only exist in year 1.
In year 3 the cost would rise slightly to take into account inflationary increases (estimated at 3%) to £31, 435.
In year 4, the cost would rise again by inflation to £32,378.
It will take time to recruit new officers and therefore we are estimating that costs are 50% in the 2019/2020 financial year, 100% in 2020/2021, 100% in 2021/2022 and 100% in 2022/2023 which is when the current Medium-Term Financial plan ends.
The total cost of this proposal is £1,973,595.
Where is the money coming from?
A Labour Borough Council will use some of the Council’s reserves to help fund this but the main funding for this proposal will be from the Council’s revenue budget. The Council currently plans to delay making savings in some service areas until the later part of the medium-term financial plan. This means that some Council reserves are then needed in the early part of the medium-term financial plan to ‘top-up’ the day to day Council spending.
Labour will make decisions about savings earlier on, as listed in our budget amendment, reducing the need to use council reserves to fund day to day spending and instead will use this money and some of the allocated reserves to fund 15 new Police Officers across North Warwickshire.
Won’t Labour just put up Council Tax and increase debt to pay for this?
No! Our budget amendment to Council on 20thFebruary 2019 contained no proposal to increase Council Tax and did not increase the debt the Council has. Our budget amendment has to be legally signed off as financially viable and sustainable by the Council’s Head of Finance. Our budget amendment was signed off.
But isn’t it the Police Commissioner’s responsibility to fund Police Officers?
We’ll actually it’s the Governments and this Government just isn’t up to the job. They’ve cut Warwickshire Police to the bone and now they expect locals to pick up the bill by putting up Council Tax.
It isn’t uncommon for Councils to fund Police Officers:
There’s 1,100 police and community support officers being funded in England by residents, schools, councils and shopping centres. Thirty-four parish councils fund police officers.
West Yorkshire Police have 132 police officers and 450 PCSO’s on their force who are council funded. Kent Police have 51 officers all council funded. Avon & Somerset 50. Lancashire; 141. Cheshire; 120. Blue Water Shopping Centre in Kent: a team of 11.
Here’s Labour budget amendment:
Page 136 – Proposed Amendment to Minute 62 (Labour)
That recommendation a is replaced by the following:
a i That the savings of £338,300 in Appendix D are amended by £589,000 set out below;
|Senior Management Restructure – part year (redundancy costs to be met from earmarked reserves)||187,000|
|Remove the revenue contribution to capital expenditure||119,000|
|Creation of a cooperative Leisure Trust for all sports centres (part year effect)||90,000|
|Creation of a cooperative trust to deliver back of house services||100,000|
|Reduce the provision for training||26,000|
|Reduce the contribution to the Building Maintenance Fund||10,000|
|Reduce the Civic Hospitality budget||9,000|
|Remove Corporate subscriptions to Outside Bodies||5,500|
|Remove professional fees from Green Space budgets||27,500|
|Reduce automatic increments for employees||15,000|
That an additional recommendation a ii is included as set out below:
a ii That growth of £458,000, as set out in table below (ongoing, unless indicated) is included in the 2019/20 budget:
|To pay for the street lights to be switched back on across North Warwickshire||71,000|
|To provide a fly tipping hit squad and new anti-social behaviour wardens||70,000|
|To enable a passport to leisure to be available for swimming, for over 60’s and under 18’s||24,000|
|To fund free breakfasts for all primary school children||70,000|
|To provide a discretionary fund able to support the service costs for 400 Borough Care customers||73,000|
|To provide funding for Community Policing in North Warwickshire (Capped sum of £2 million over the strategy)||559,000|
That recommendation b and d are replaced by the following:
b That the revised revenue estimate for 2018/19 and the revenue estimate for 2019/20, as amended by the additional savings and growth, be approved;
d that the preferred Council Tax option for 2019/20 be a 0% increase on Band D;
recommendations c, e, and f remain as set out
Note for Information
The impact of the proposals on balances and the level of savings is shown below.
Revised Medium Term Financial Forecast (with Amendments)
|Additional use of earmarked reserves (community policing)||–||(200)||(200)||(200)||(200)|
|Revenue Contribution to Capital Spending||119||–||–||–||–|
|New Homes Bonus||(902)||(921)||(870)||(890)||(890)|
|Collection Fund Surplus||(134)||(93)||(75)||(79)||(83)|
|Use of Balances||255||1,114||1,893||2,217||2,487|
|Additional Savings – 2019/20||–||(470)||(897)||(947)||(947)|
|Savings required 2020/21||–||–||(700)||(700)||(700)|
|Savings required 2021/22||–||–||–||(450)||(450)|
|Savings required 2022/23||–||–||–||–||(200)|
|Use of Balances||255||644||296||120||190|
|Balances at the Year End||3,291||2,647||2,351||2,231||2,041|