Police stick with the old bill

NORTHUMBERLAND residents will not have to pay more for policing despite funding cuts.

Members of the Northumbria Police Authority (NPA) agreed to freeze the amount it takes from council tax, as well as adopt a range of measures to try to protect front-line officers in the face of having to save £21.1million.

Reductions will be made mainly by lowering expenditure in areas such as ICT and buildings. Some of the organisation’s own financial reserves will also be used to help lessen the impact.

NPA Chairman Mick Henry said: “With this budget, we are trying our utmost to ensure that residents don’t see a reduction in core, visible policing. We’re doing our best, in very challenging circumstances, to ensure that Northumbria can remain one of the highest performing forces in the country.

“We’re making careful and considered use of reserves to spread the impact of the front loading of cuts from government.”

The agreed precept levels will see the average Band D household pay £83.68 over the 2012/13 financial year.

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Sue Sim said: “Our success in reducing crime and disorder while increasing public confidence and satisfaction cannot be compromised — indeed we are working to improve our services whilst balancing a reduced budget.

“I have given a commitment to protect, as far as possible, the numbers of officers involved in 24/7 response, neighbourhood policing teams, detectives who support neighbourhoods, and the Community Support Officers who patrol our neighbourhoods.

“So the people of Northumbria will not see fewer officers out and about in their neighbourhoods, nor fewer marked police vehicles patrolling.”