A report on the Devon and Cornwall Police budget for 2019-20 from the Council's Police liaison, Councillor Steve Wilkinson.

Provisional settlement

As you may be aware, in December the Police & Crime Commissioner's Office was presented with the provisional settlement for the central government funding that will comprise just over half of the Devon and Cornwall Police budget for 2019-20.

The provisional settlement suggests that core grant funding will increase year on year by 2.1%, meaning an extra £3.4m for Devon and Cornwall Police. A further £152m in specific funding to make up for a pension fund shortfall is proposed which would mean an additional grant of £3.3m to help the Devon and Cornwall force meet obligations of £7.6m for the financial year.

Significantly the cap on the police council tax precept has been changed to allow Police and Crime Commissioners to add an additional tariff of up to £24 (for a band D property) on each household.

The amount of money top-sliced by Government has increased by £84m, mainly relating to serious and organised crime. This increase has been achieved by way of additional Home Office funding and has not impacted on the grant allocated to individual forces. The top slice equates to 11%.

Whilst this seems initially positive, there are additional significant inflationary pressures on police budgets in England and Wales, and the Devon and Cornwall force is no exception.

Funding will need to be found within the overall envelope for the nationally-agreed police and staff pay settlements, as well as for existing policy commitments. Ultimately if we increase council tax precepts by the full amount our force will receive a budget of £314.1m (up from £291.3m in 2018-19), allowing for a modest surplus to reinvest in service improvements before any efficiency savings are made.

The Home Office consultation on these proposals runs until 10th January. Parishioners can find out more about these proposals, and respond to them, online at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/provisional-police-grant-report-2019-to-2020.

In the new year the PCC's office will be engaging the public in a discussion about their plans for the next financial year and how the central Government settlement might impact on them. I have been asked to assist them with helping the public understand what is proposed and responding to their survey on the Devon and Cornwall Police budget.

Survey on speeding fines

The PCC's Office is extremely concerned about the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and also is the road safety lead for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

Alison Hernandez, the Police and Crime Commissioner, thinks that fines for those who flout the law should be revised so that the standard fixed penalty notice for speeding rises from £100, and the difference is reinvested in local road safety policing (currently all of this money is returned to the Treasury).

If fixed penalty notices for speeding were increased to £130, and this principle applied, it would raise about £500,000 for Devon and Cornwall Police – enough to pay for another 'No Excuse' road safety team.

The Road Safety Survey has been running for the last fortnight and they have had a fantastic response, with more than 2,000 people taking about two minutes to answer three questions on the subject.

The PCC's Office is keen to encourage others to do so too, online here: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BKHM567.