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Council tax rise to pay for policing

PUBLISHED: 03:00 02 February 2002 | UPDATED: 15:25 03 March 2010

BIG increases in allowances to members of the Suffolk Police Authority have been defended, even though council tax could rise by more than 10 times the rate of inflation to pay for policing in the county.

BIG increases in allowances to members of the Suffolk Police Authority have been defended, even though council tax could rise by more than 10 times the rate of inflation to pay for policing in the county.

From April, authority members will receive a basic "pay" of £5,000 and the authority's budget for allowances will rise from £46,000 to £113,000.

But at the same time, council tax payers could face an increase of more than 20 per cent to pay for the cost of policing in the county.

Tory members of Suffolk county council yesterday condemned the authority's decision to raise its own allowances.

Guy McGregor questioned whether it was "a wise use of resources" for police authority members to pay themselves increases that could otherwise pay for four front line police officers.

Authority chairman, Christine Laverock, said it was never the right time for members to approve their own increases but they were less than had been approved in other parts of the country.

She said: "The recommendations came from a national independent review body. It looks like a big increase, but historically in this county, members have not claimed what they could have done.

"Allowances paid to members of police authorities have lagged behind what has been given to members of health authorities and local government," said Mrs Laverock. She announced that earlier this week, the Home Office had granted Suffolk Constabulary a further £186,000 cash settlement, which might offset some of the predicted council tax rise.

Mrs Laverock said the county was on course to achieve its target of recruiting additional 97 police officers by April. Of these, 11 would be based in Sudbury, although these were not all new posts.

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