Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, increased the Police Precept at a Meeting of the Lancashire Police & Crime Panel on Monday 21st January by 13% - the largest ever for a single year. This was the maximum increase permissible without requiring a local referendum. It means that a Band D property will see a huge £24 annual increase in their 2019/20 Policing Bill taking the Police Precept to over £200 a year (£201.45) for the first time. Ribble Valley Council Tax Payers occupying Band D properties will now be paying £16.79 per month for their policing.
The increase is double the additional £12 levied in 2018/19 which saw a 7.25% increase in the Police Precept. Ribble Valley Council Tax Payers In Band D properties have seen an increase of over £50 a year in the amount they are paying their policing in just two short years - a massive 33.45% increase.
The increase was supported by 6 Labour, 1 Independent and 1 Liberal Democrat Councillor Members of the Panel. It was unanimously opposed by all 6 Conservative Councillor Members of the Panel together with the support of 1 Labour Member who supported an alternative proposal put forward by Councillor Geoff Driver who argued that the Precept Budget should be reviewed afresh to achieve further efficiencies and cost-downs In Back-Office Systems, in particular on I.T. Hardware Leasing and Software Annual Renewable Contracts. Councillor Driver argued vigorously that this was not an either/or situation where the Police Precept should be raised by the maximum amount possible simply because that was allowable. The capabilities of Council Tax Payers should be taken into account and that a better strategy would be to implement a smaller increase in percentage terms combined with savings.
Councillor Ged Mirfin, one of two Ribble Valley Representatives on the Panel, along with Deputy Council Leader, Councillor Rupert Swarbrick states, “There was no way I could justify an increase of £578,420 in the Police Precept collected in the Ribble Valley to justify an increase in the permanent policing officers on duty in the Ribble Valley of an additional 2 Police Constables and 1 PCSO when it appeared from Policing figures that we were shown last night that there were roughly twice as many permanent police officers on duty in the neighbouring borough of Pendle principally in the towns of Nelson, Colne, Pendle and Barnoldswick. I asked the Police & Crime Commissioner to look at both the budget and the policing figures again. I pointed out that Ribble Valley is not a cash cow and that this budgetary increase undermined the principle of policing by consent in the Ribble Valley by the Labour Police & Crime Commissioner who is favouring some areas at the expense of others thereby undermining confidence in the service in the Ribble Valley.”
Councillor Ken Hind who represents the Dilworth Ward in Longridge and former PCC member and commented, “There is is no reverse in the policy iof the Labour Police Commissioner in retreating from rural polcing .No police station is open to the public Longridge or Clitheroe leaving the largest rural Borough in Lancashire , the Ribble Valley will no access for the public to a police station.”
Councillor Hind continues, “The budget demands not only the raising of money but also how it is spent and where the priorties lie .For Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Police & Crime Commisioner his prioroties are urban and in the areas where local authorities are controlled by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. Due to the more sparse population in rural areas costs of policing are higher but the public still need proper protection and without police support they are more vulnerable.to burglaries and robberies partiuclarly on farms. This was an opportunity for a rethink on rural police priorities reopening the front desks at Longridge and Clitheroe which were not taken by the Commissioner.”
Councillor Stephen Atkinson, the Leader of Ribble Valley Council, states, “This was a deal pushed through by representatives of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party which continues to disadvantage rural authorities. This budgetary increase was made by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party Councillors who do not understand the complexities of policing in the Ribble Valley. The withdrawal from rural policing under Mr. Grunshaw’s tenure has led to some harmful effects in the Ribble Valley including the closing of the Police Front Desk in Clitheroe. Ribble Valley residents deserve their fair share of policing and under this deal they will contribute over £4,500,000 to the Lancashire Police Budget in 2019/2020 and only a fraction of that is spent in the Ribble Valley, Our residents are now paying significantly more for policing than they do for the services provided by the Borough council.”
Councillor Atkinson continues, “The Actions Of the Police & Crime commissioner contrast with Conservative Controlled Ribble Valley Borough Council, who have continued to deliver all services more efficiently, The Council tax has only been raised once since 2010, which means in real terms that the Council tax has reduced by circa 20% in the last 9 years. When Clive Grunshaw visits the Ribble Vallew next week, we will continue to press for the re-opening of a Police Front desk in the Ribble Valley and for extra police resources required to support the thriving night time economy.”