Police set to increase tax

IN a bid to battle massive budget cuts, the body that governs Suffolk Police has revealed it is likely to increase its council tax precept.

At a meeting on Friday, Suffolk Police Authority members debated next year’s budget – as it attempts to make savings of more than £16million over the next four years – and considered two options.

The first involves either freezing council tax levels and accepting a one-off government grant of £1.25million, or not accepting the grant and raising the policing element of council tax by 3.75 per cent to generate £1.55million.

Chief Constable Simon Ash said any decision would have major implications for the future of policing in Suffolk, including the number of officers available to police the county.

The authority agreed by a majority to take both options forward for a final decision at its next meeting, but with a preference for option two.

Chairman Joanna Spicer said: “We have had a very productive and thorough debate on the two council tax options.

“It became clear that there is a real concern about the future resourcing of policing in Suffolk, not just during 2012/13 but in the years that follow.

“We will continue to consult with local councils, organisations and communities to inform our decision-making on both the budget and council tax.”

The authority will next meet on February 20.