Saturday, November 18, 2006

Government to dump cost of anti-terror operation on local council taxpayers?

The cost of running the August anti-terror operation and on-going searches in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, may be left to the local Council taxpayer to fund. The final bill for the operations in the Thames Valley is likely to be around £7m, and it's been indicated that the Government will not meet the costs, instead pushing it off to the local authorities that span the Thames Valley to deal with.

The estimated £7m bill would repesent a loss of 75 frontline police officer jobs if covered by Thames Valley police who are already planning to civilianise 36 police posts, cut 74 support staff and remove 12 police officer jobs. Given this the cost will be deferred to local authorities to raise through their police contribution from Council Tax. The bill would require a rise of around 5% to Council Tax rates.

If ever there was an example of under-funding in the Police force then I'd say this situation exemplifies it. It also strengthens the case for the creation of a Homeland Security style department which concentrates solely on these security matters and would be fed from it's own budget rather than overstretching the Police budget ever further. Why should the local Council taxpayer suffer for what is clearly a national problem?

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