The chairman of Staffordshire Police Authority has defended the decision to raise its proportion of the Council Tax.
County Councillor Matthew Ellis (Cons, Lichfield Rural East) had criticised the organisation for making the decision, saying “setting tax without public accountability is unacceptable in 2010”.
But the Authority’s Chairman, David Pearsall, has insisted that the current financial climate should not impact on policing provision.
“Whilst the Police Authority itself is not directly elected, all members, regardless of political affiliation, have a duty to represent the communities of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. They carry out this responsibility by consulting and engaging with local communities to ensure the views of people are heard, appreciated and taken into account in the way the Authority goes about its business.
“We have already achieved more than £56m savings since 1999 and this year we are planning on achieving efficiency savings of a further £4.6m. Indeed, the Staffordshire Police Authority is the top-rated Police Authority in England and Wales for the effective use and management of resources, assessed by the Audit Commission.
“The Authority firmly believes that a fundamental part of its role is to ensure that the public and communities get the best possible police service from the Staffordshire force and that will remain our objective notwithstanding the period of financial constraint which undoubtedly lies ahead.”
Mr Pearsall also claimed that the Staffordshire Police Authority had been a proven success.
“Since the introduction of self-standing Police Authorities in April 1995, with statutory duties which include holding the Chief Constable to account for the delivery of police services in our area, and securing an effective and efficient police force, not least through scrutiny of the force’s performance, crime in our area has declined in overall terms by more than 40 per cent.”