Each time the police precept is increased, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) tells us that more money is needed to improve the service, but the number of officers in evidence continues to decline.
Last year Billingshurst paid over £600,000 to the police precept with a promise of additional policing, which didn’t materialise.
To compensate for the decline in police visibility, Parishes are urged to incur even more expense, by employing Neighbourhood Wardens.
Now the hard-pressed residents of Billingshurst are asked to employ Wardens, without evidence that value for money will be delivered. Indeed that action alone might encourage the PCC to further cut the number of officers.
The police organisation seems to have become progressively top heavy and it must be tremendously demoralising for rank and file officers who endeavour to continue with the Law Enforcement, which Wardens cannot take on.
One of the biggest mistakes was to create the PCC, a post which is expensive and one which clearly should not have been linked to any political party. It certainly doesn’t seem to have improved the number of reported crimes which have been successfully dealt with. Can anyone show how it has improved value for money?
It’s time for HDC to make a New Year Resolution to think outside the box, ensuring that the public does get such value. I have news for them, residents are not branches on a money tree, to be stripped to meet each new whim of a District Council.
Any new expenditure must be supported by a sound business case. Average real wages have hardly risen since the recession began and to continue increasing the financial burden on residents alongside other stealth taxes, is most unwise, particularly in absence of a cost/benefit analysis. Many reported crimes are not even investigated and the business case should explain how that is going to be improved.
In any event, residents should not be expected to have to keep paying more for less.
Arun Road, Billingshurst