The North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel has vetoed an increase of over 10 per cent in council tax for policing put forward by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan.
The panel decided that it needed more detail to arrive at a balanced decision. The panel felt there was a lack of assurance about where the extra money would be spent, particularly in relation to aspects of local policing.
It expressed concern that levels of neighbourhood policing have declined in recent times with a corresponding decline in public confidence.
It's a fresh blow for embattled police commissioner Julia Mulligan who has recently faced allegations of bullying from former staff.
Members were especially disappointed that the Commissioner and police officers gave a presentation to the panel today with new information so that there was little time to take on board the issues and hold the Commissioner to account.
The panel stated it would also welcome more detail about how savings can be made.
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Coun Carl Les, Chair of the panel, said: “Rejecting the Commissioner’s proposal was not a decision taken lightly by the panel and we understand the public’s need to have a more visible policing presence in York and North Yorkshire.
"But an increase of more than 10 per cent is simply too much to ask people to pay without further information about how aspects of local policing will be improved.”
This year, the government has allowed greater flexibility to police commissioners to enable them to propose a larger increase in the policing precept.
The proposal put forward by the commissioner would have meant an increase to the policing element of council tax of £23.95 in 2019/20 for a Band D property.
The panel also expressed concerns about the conclusions drawn from the commissioner’s public consultation.
The panel accepts the principle that the precept money would be held in a policing priorities fund and only released by the commissioner on the production of a successful business case.
The panel has a reserve date for the panel to consider a revised precept proposal on February 21.
The panel gave its approval to an increase for 2019/20 for the fire and rescue service of £2.07 (2.99%) for a Band D property.
The role of the Police, Fire and Crime Panel is to scrutinise the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s performance on behalf of the public.
It includes representatives from each council in North Yorkshire and York and two members who represent the interests of the community.