Agenda item

Police and Crime Commissioner 2020/21 Precept

To consider a paper outlining the Police and Crime Commissioner’s proposed precept for 2020/21, and supporting financial information.


The Commissioner introduced his proposed precept for 2020/21, which recommended a proposed increase of £10 per month for Band D properties.


In setting the budget and precept, Members heard that the Commissioner had

considered the operational context from the Chief Constable, immediate financial demands and the needs of communities and partners. The Commissioner had also given regard to the direction of national government and the ability of Hampshire to work within that context.


The Chief Constable was invited by the Commissioner to provide Members with an operational context for the budget. Members heard that:


·         The Chief Constable welcomed the outcome of the recent HMICFRS report, which recognised that the Constabulary had broad ranging responsibilities and had achieved good ratings across all areas of the assessment against a backdrop of financial challenges. The tone of the report recognised that Hampshire Constabulary was underfunded against the average and Members heard that the Chief Constable, alongside the Commissioner, was continuing to lobby for fairer funding.

·         The force had been shortlisted for several international digital investigation awards, recognising Hampshire Constabulary as being at the frontline of tackling cybercrime.

·         Significant efforts were being made locally and nationally to prevent harm, much of which was outside of the public eye. The Constabulary’s approach was focussed on tackling and preventing crimes which cause the most harm, however the Chief Constable wanted to be able to expand that offer in the future to enable the force to move further away from acute services and increase the universal offer to tackle more crime. 

·         Crime numbers were fairly stable, however the type of crime was changing, with an increase in violent crime and reports of domestic abuse.

·         Hampshire Constabulary had one of the highest rates nationally in prosecuting those committing child sexual abuse.

·         Stop and search powers were used very lightly but very effectively by the force which had resulted in a high success rate in removing weapons off  the streets. The force had also been granted special powers, when required, under section 60 to enhance the use of stop and search in a restricted area in response to specific incidents.

·         In total the government had outlined a national increase of 20,000 officers and 6,500 staff. In year one, 2020-21, the allocation for Hampshire would provide funding for 156 additional officers. As yet the allocation for future years was unknown, and therefore the budget had been prepared on the basis of reasonable.

·         The budget proposed would enable the recruitment of approximately 250 additional police officers for Hampshire and the IOW, inclusive of the 156 officers being funded through the central government uplift and the recruitment of an additional 94 officers supported by the Commissioner.

·         Members heard that these numbers were in addition to the replacement of any officers leaving the force. In order to secure the government uplift funding the force were required to demonstrate they had met their existing establishment and the Chief Constable was confident that the force could deliver the recruitment volumes required. Additionally more staff were required to answer current volumes of 999 and 101 calls.

·         The Chief Constable shared her ambition for the force to be an employer of choice across all communities across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It was hoped that the current growth opportunity would allow the force to be more diverse in its recruitment and to seek recruits with digital confidence.

·         An average of four officers or staff of the Constabulary were assaulted every day, which not only impacted upon them but also their family and their colleagues. A small amount of funding was being allocated in the budget for a respite pilot, which sought to mitigate trauma effecting officers and staff and reduce lost working days.

·         Investment was also required in technology to allow the force to stay ahead of criminals, enable staff be technically proactive whilst out on duty and to keep up with the increased volumes of digital crime data being received. Members further heard that the Constabulary’s Wi-Fi required upgrade to support new recruits with their digital learning and that the force would be moving towards a paperless approach.

·         CMP was live across the constabulary area and the force were now looking at opportunities to improve digital public contact through the use of CMP. The Chief Constable was clear that voice reporting would remain for those wishing to make reports of crime by phone.


The Chairman congratulated the Constabulary on the outcomes of the recent HMICFRS report, and thanked the Chief Constable for attending the Panel meeting, accepting the Chief Constable’s invitation for the Panel to receive further informal briefing on police recruitment at a later date.


The Commissioner then presented further information on the proposed precept. Members heard that:


·         74% of the public responding to the Commissioner’s online precept survey had supported the proposed increase through the online survey and responses were broadly representative across all districts and boroughs. The Commissioner highlighted that responses to the online survey from the Isle of Wight (IOW) had shown 46% support for the precept, although wider consultation across the year with IOW residents had been more supportive. It was considered that the variation in response may have been influenced by the fact that the IOW is one of the safest places to live in the Hampshire Policing area. The Commissioner had discussed this with the leader of IOW council.

·         The precept proposed by the Commissioner would deliver a balanced budget for 2020/21. There was uncertainty over funding for future years with projection of savings required of £4.4m and £16.5m, in 2021/22 and 2022/23 respectively, without growth in central funding and/or precept contributions.

·         Through this budget the Commissioner sought to be prudent in planning for future years whilst delivering ambitious plans for 2020/21 to seek to address and mitigate future risk.


The Chairman reminded Members that the proposal being considered was that the Police and Crime Panel support the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC’s) proposed precept increase of £10 per annum for Band D properties, which is the equivalent of 83p per month, or 19p per week. The Chairman then moved to invite questions from Members. In response to questions it was heard that:


·         Without the full £10 precept increase it would be necessary to make cuts which could impact on visible policing and work supporting the frontline. It would also impact on the ability of the force to be fit to meet and respond to future crime and result in the Police and Crime Plan being less well delivered.

·         There were planned reductions to the numbers of Police Community Support Officers ( PCSO) last year. This was following identification by the Chief Constable that the powers of a Police Constable (PC) were more enabling than a PSCO, and therefore strategic policy to increase the number of PCs required some cut in PSCO numbers. The value of PSCOs was appreciated, including them being well known and well liked in communities.

·         The Commissioner would hold the Chief Constable to account for ensuring operational decisions made would sustain the local element of policing efficiently.

·         The Commissioner had driven a pre-emptive approach in plans to meet the recruitment targets required to maximise the uplift grant funding available and felt confident that the Constabulary were well placed to deliver the full compliment of 156 officers for 2020/21.

·         If attrition rates increased then recruitment plans would need to be adjusted accordingly. It was also recognised that a number of PSCOs and special constables had taken the opportunity to move into officer positions, which may have created a temporary reduction in the visibility of policing whilst positions were either backfilled or new officers deployed into communities.

·         The Constabulary had partnership arrangements in place which would allow them to scale up recruitment plans more readily and to be more resilient to changes in demand, if required. The Commissioner also confirmed that the force  were ready to meet the requirements of the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF), with partnerships arrangements in place to enable recruits to gain the required academic accreditation.

·         The Commissioner’s team would work with Members to consider what information could be shared with the Panel, and its working groups, to allow the Panel to monitor progress against recruitment and the strength of the establishment.

·         Whilst communities could expect an increase in visible policing, it was recognised to be equally important for the public to be able to report crime and concerns. The Commissioner had heard concerns regularly from residents regarding contact through 101 and a lack of confidence in reporting crime.

·         There was a significant increase in call volumes and demand over the summer of 2019, which had seen a drop in call handling statistics. Members heard call centre statistics were monitored continuously and drilled down into twice daily operationally, as wellbeing reported periodically to collaboration meetings.

·         There were currently 320 people working within the Constabulary’s contact centre receiving 1 million calls each year. 60% of calls received were not relevant to policing and increasing staffing would allow more effective triaging of calls.

·         The first phases of roll out of CMP indicated that any initial drop in productivity from initial implementation of the system was already back to previous standards and beyond. It was heard that CMP would deliver significant improvements in effective operational deployment and capacity.

·         In response to concerns regarding how the Commissioner and the Constabulary were demonstrating value for money to residents, it was heard that the Commissioner held the Chief Constable to account for ensuring that resources available were managed effectively.

·         The Commissioner planned to provide leaflets to be distributed with council tax bills to explain to residents what the additional monies raised through the precept would deliver and that the Commissioner and his team would be out at events in the coming months to meet with the public and answer their questions.

·         The estimated £43m per annum under funding of the force had a significant impact on delivering the levels of visible policing local communities desired.  Increasing the precept by £10 per annum (Band D) would stop further cuts and any reduction in public safety, in the advance of any national fairer funding. 

·         The budget proposed also enabled more staffing for the force, which was expected to lead to faster response time and deployment, expanding the range of the greatest risk and harm model. It was also hoped that staff wellbeing would be improved and working days lost through stress and trauma reduced.

·         In 2020-21 the Panel would scrutinise how the budget, if agreed, had delivered value for money to the public.

·         The increase in the central government grant was to deliver up-front funding for non-pay costs, including equipment and accommodation, for those officers being recruited through the central uplift. Resultantly new officer and estate uplift reserves had been created to hold this funding to be drawn down as required.

·         Projects funded through the pension deficit contribution saving were being monitored by the Commissioner’s Chief Financial Officer to ensure they were genuine one-off costs.

·         The Commissioner would provide a response, following the meeting, to concerns raised regarding volumes of low level crime and antisocial behaviour and the link with violent crime.

·         In setting the budget the Commissioner explained it was in the expectation that if he was to be the next PCC he would be content that his predecessor had made the right choice and that he would not make any decisions in the rest of the current term that he would not be happy to inherit himself. 


Following questions, the Chairman moved to debate. Members discussed the precept proposal, noting that the spending outlined would protect the public from risk and harm, provide a real opportunity to grow officer numbers and improve contact with the force . Members however expressed caution over the potential impact on residents in meeting any future increases to the precept and recognised the role of the Panel in monitoring the outcomes of the proposed budget, if agreed, to identify how it is delivering value for money to the public.


Councillor Stewart proposed a recommendation to support the Commissioner’s proposed precept of £10 per annum for Band D properties. The motion was seconded and a vote took place on the endorsement of the proposed increase to the policing precept, which was agreed by 15 of the members present, with one abstaining from the vote.


Members were then asked to consider the recommendations outlined in paragraphs 1.2 to 1.5 of the report.


Michael Coombes proposed an amendment to recommendation 1.4 to read:


The Panel notes the proposals in the report which outline significant investment in policing within Hampshire Constabulary Policing area for 2020/21, including an increase in police officer numbers by 156 above the existing budgeted establishment as part of the first tranche of the Government’s commitment to increase police officer numbers nationally by 20,000.


The amendment was agreed by all Members present.


Councillor Bound proposed the inclusion of an additional recommendation:


The Panel recommends that the PCC provides the Panel with a quarterly report of total establishment; explicitly stating officers, PCSO’s and other staff along with actual in post headcount.


The additional recommendation was agreed by all Members present.


Recommendations 1.2, 1.3 and 1.5 were agreed by all Members, as presented within the report.





That the Police and Crime Panel support the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC’s) proposed precept increase of £10 per annum for Band D properties, which is the equivalent of 83p per month, or 19p per week.


The Panel note that 61% of households across Hampshire and the IOW are in properties in council tax bands A-C and would therefore see a precept increase of less than £10 per annum if the above recommendation is supported.


The Panel note that the full precept increase will be utilised in support of local policing.


The Panel notes the proposals in the report which outline significant investment in policing within Hampshire Constabulary Policing area for 2020/21, including an increase in police officer numbers by 156 above the existing budgeted establishment as part of the first tranche of the Government’s commitment to increase police officer numbers nationally by 20,000.


The Panel note that the PCC has undertaken broad consultation over the course of the last year to determine the public support for a precept increase, and that the overall collective outcome of the consultation shows that there is significant support for a precept increase. 


The Panel recommends that the PCC provides the Panel with a quarterly report of total establishment; explicitly stating officers, PCSO’s and other staff along with actual in post headcount. 


The Chair paused the meeting for a 10 minute comfort break, suspending the meeting from 11:30 to 11:40.


Councillor Craig left the meeting at this point. 

Supporting documents: