Northumbria Police facing drastic cuts of nearly £12m, despite plans to increase council tax bills

Northumbria Police is facing major cuts of more than £11m – and the budget nightmare will get even worse unless households help foot its spiralling bills, taxpayers have been warned.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kim McGuinness has unveiled plans for a 9.75% hike in the precept she puts on council tax bills in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

The Labour PCC said that her force would have to make £15.8m worth of savings in 2023/24 without the increase – but will still need to cut £11.7m regardless due to “spiralling inflation and rising cost pressures”.

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The rise would equate to between 83p and £2.50 per month depending on households’ council tax band, with most in the region being in the lowest-paying Band A category.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kim McGuinness.Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kim McGuinness.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kim McGuinness.

Ms McGuinness, who had planned to up the precept by 6.5% in previous proposals announced just six weeks ago, also confirmed plans for a restructure to deploy 134 extra officers to neighbourhood policing – but said Northumbria Police must make “substantial changes” elsewhere to balance the books.

She said: “The Government should be fully funding policing, but instead they’re asking local taxpayers to cover the costs instead and are asking more and more of them.

“Even the full precept rise won’t fully cover what Northumbria Police needs but we are planning around this with a restructure that would see the force allocate 134 new officers into specialist frontline policing to take on the fight against crime.”

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In an announcement on Monday, Ms McGuinness’ office insisted that a drive to combat anti-social behaviour in problem hotspots across the region “will be safeguarded from the cuts as far as possible”.

It has not yet been confirmed how the force intends to make the identified £11.7m in savings.

The PCC added: “The Government seems in denial about the dire situation of police funding, particularly in the North East. They seem intent on passing the police bill onto the local tax payer.

“Northumbria Police is up against significant financial pressure and needs investment as inflation continues.”

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The police precept rise will come on top of substantial increases in general council tax bills that are expected to be imposed by local authorities in the coming weeks.