Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones will push for a maximum increase in the policing element of council tax, just shy of a £13 hike — so what do the people of Lincoln think?
We hit the streets to gauge the reaction of local people, to find out what Lincolnshire Police should use the money for and where they can improve — and if Lincoln is deemed to be a safe place to live.
The government’s local finance policy statement for 2024/25 placed a £13 cap as the maximum permitted increase for police forces to add onto council tax precepts for the upcoming financial year. The PCC’s latest recommendation is for a £12.96 precept increase.
The proposed increase would see a Band D property pay £304.20 in taxes to the force across the next year, which is up nearly 4.5% on last year’s total of £291.24. Band A properties would pay 17p a week more, while Band H properties would pay up to 50p per week extra on 2023/24’s total.
Hal Crompton made reference to the recent violent incidents at RAF Scampton when airing his views on the matter.
The 69-year-old told us: “Given that they’ve just had an increase from central government to pay for policing at Scampton, but there was a violent assault Sunday, we definitely need more community policing and less vehicle based policing. We need more bobbies on the beat.
“Police response times are too long, in that somebody calls with a crime in process and it takes them too long to respond, like at Scampton.
“I am not in favour of the increase, but the money has to come from somewhere.”
So is Lincoln a safe place to live? “I live in a small village outside of Lincoln and feel extremely safe,” Hal added.
“Lincolnshire as a whole is a safe rural environment. In the city, there is a drugs and violence problem, and I can understand why some younger ladies in particular don’t feel safe walking alone at night.”
Shirley Anderson, 52, said: “I think they’ve got a bloody check as they get more than enough and don’t spend it properly.
“They are fooling us into thinking they are not getting enough, but they are just spending it wrong.
“It would be nice if when there is a robbery, or a problem in a neighbourhood, that they actually come out to it, and don’t just send PCSOs, but that doesn’t justify more money [precept increase].
“The money would be better off going to the ambulance service, as police just say they’ve never got enough.”
Regarding safety in Lincoln, she added: “I feel safe in Lincoln compared to other towns and cities. It isn’t as bad, but that’s not because of the police, it’s because of the people.”
Stravor Tshuma, 38, recently moved to Lincoln from Zimbabwe and said: “I think at the moment that’s too much money (for the taxpayer).
“For the council tax I am paying now it’s already expensive as it is, so to add onto that is too much.”
He added: “I am new to the area and haven’t encountered any crime in Lincoln.
“It feels like a safe city and I like living here. It is nice here, and calm and quiet.”
An 18-year-old woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I think Lincoln has a real drug issue and needs more enforcement in areas it is higher, including Temple Gardens, near the Usher Gallery, and at the Arboretum.
“Being a young person, it isn’t something you like to be around.”
However, she does feel like Lincoln is a secure place to live, adding: “I do feel very safe in the city. I have lived here all my life and the police generally do a good job.”
Another woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “It’s bad for the taxpayer and it will have a knock-on effect on everyone due to the cost of living, but at the end of the day police do a good job.
“They need to be catching more of the people doing bad things and deserve more money to help with this.”
When asked if she feels safe living in Lincoln, she added: “It doesn’t matter where you live, people on the streets are committing crimes.
“Lincoln is nice enough, but I wouldn’t want to walk around on my own at night in any town or city.”
In a letter to the Home Secretary and the Policing Minister, Lincolnshire PCC Marc Jones disclosed that Lincolnshire’s police funding works out at £196 per head for 2023/24, compared with an average of £222 per person for similar sized forces.
He also makes the point of Lincolnshire having the lowest number of officers per 100,000 residents (155) compared with the 203 for similar forces, and says the county’s frontline officers deal with an average of 53 crimes a year, compared to a 39 average elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Humberside Police & Crime Commissioner Jonathan Evison has recommended a £12.99 increase, just a penny shy of the government’s referendum threshold for 2024/25 of £13 for Band D properties. A £12.99 increase works out at around 25p a week more than last year.
With more funding, what should Lincolnshire Police do to improve, and is Lincoln a safe place to live? Sound off in the comments.