YP Letters: Inequalities in the way we fund police

Will increases in the police precept be spent on frontline services?
Will increases in the police precept be spent on frontline services?
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From: Paul Sherwood, South Kilvington, Thirsk.

THERE is a potential problem in the anticipated £450m of extra funding for police in England and Wales in the next financial year which has been announced by the Home Office.

Allegedly, Police and Crime Commissioners are to be given the power to raise the portion of council tax which goes towards policing by £12 per household annually and this would raise £270m. The Home Office said next year’s extra funding came after Policing Minister Nick Hurd spoke to every force about the issues they face.

Funding for police was protected in 2015, but Police and Crime Commissioners have been expressing concern about increased demands on officers.

This £12 per property is an anomaly, currently a property council tax and the precept to the police is based on the rateable value, the eight bands range from property with a relatively low sales value up to expensive properties. Generally people live in houses that they can afford and, with luck, a council tax band they can also afford.

Therefore is it correct that someone has to pay £12 on a low value house, with a single occupant, and the same tax is paid by a millionaire with a house full of occupants. Where has the logic or ethics of the band system gone?

This entire Police & Crime Commissioner empire in each local authority area has been a total waste of public money, frittered away on grandiose schemes. North Yorkshire has been a disgrace with ridiculous notions put forward over HQ accommodation. After wasting a colossal financial figure in an evaluation exercise to move the headquarters to a greenfield site that proved unviable, they have now occupied a somewhat unsuitable office in Northallerton. It is reported that this site has appalling road access, not enough parking space and some staff have been relocated to Thirsk as the Northallerton one isn’t big enough.

This is why police funding is inadequate. Nonsensical facilities management and an ever growing level of highly paid staff in the Harrogate office of the Commissioner, means it is not getting spent on police operational work. This is where our £12 per household is going to get exploited.

Race misses many areas

From: Edward Grainger, Botany Way, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough.

DESPITE an expanded Tour de Yorkshire being announced for 2018, it will miss large parts of North Yorkshire.

These are the coastal fringes north from Whitby to Saltburn and Redcar. If Sir Gary Verity, and Welcome To Yorkshire, are serious, I would suggest such a stage from Whitby, with the challenging climbs of Lythe and Boulby Banks at Sandsend and Staithes and an equally impressive one at Saltburn.

If such a stage could begin at Scarborough then this would lengthen the route, particularly so if it was to finally end in Middlesbrough.

From: B Newbold, School Walk, Old Edlington.

GREAT news that another cycle race is coming to our area, and many thanks for publishing all the places to avoid on those days.

This means the roads get re-surfaced for the benefit of those of us who actually pay to use them, ie motorists.

Little hope on state of jails

From: Canon Michael Storey, Healey Wood Road, Brighouse.

TOWARDS the end of BBC News at Ten on Monday, a former Chief Inspector of Prisons, Lord Ramsbotham, was interviewed.

During his time as Chief Inspector, he gave a lecture to the clergy of the Wakefield Diocese in Wakefield Cathedral. Interestingly his father had been Bishop Of Wakefield some years previously. I shall never forget his lecture. As a Church of England Vicar of some 40 years’ service, I have visited at least five prisons. In all cases the conditions were “lacking”, to be polite, though I don’t recall seeing conditions such as exist at present in Liverpool Prison.

Lord Ramsbotham’s lecture in the Cathedral was to do with improving education and rehabilitation so that inmates, on leaving prison, would be better qualified to get work and so, hopefully, not return to prison, as so many did and still do. His suggestions fell on deaf ears in those distant days.

Sadly, I have no reason to hope that his latest comments on the current state of prisons will result in positive action from the Government.

More gravitas in radio news

From: Elisabeth Baker, Leeds.

I AM beginning to despair about the content of the BBC1 flagship news programme at 10pm. It is now more a magazine than a news bulletin, with very few different topics. Some of these topics are dealt with in great depth, which is interesting but which is more appropriate to other BBC television news programmes and channels.

In contrast, the Radio 4 main news programmes at 6pm and midnight cover many topics and are very informative. I sometimes wonder if the BBC likens its radio audience to broadsheet readers and its television audience to those who read tabloid newspapers.

Tree lines are unacceptable

From: Louise Wilcockson, Sheffield.

EVERY time the topic of retaining healthy street trees comes up, Coun Bryan Lodge, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for the environment, says that it would be necessary to use things like “the social care fund” to do so.

Why? This smells a bit of emotional blackmail and it seems deliberately designed to incite hatred towards the tree campaigners.