Anger from panel over Dorset police precept rise

Anger from panel over Dorset police precept rise

PRECEPT ROW: Dorset Police at work

PRECEPT ROW: Martyn Underhill

PRECEPT ROW: Cllr David Smith

First published in News
Last updated

SOME members of Dorset’s Police and Crime Panel have vented their frustrations after they failed to block plans to increase the police precept.

Nine members of the panel rejected Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill’s plans for a 1.96 per cent increase, while seven members supported them.

But, under the regulations governing all Police and Crime Panels, a veto must be supported by two thirds of panel members and so the increase was approved.

Bournemouth Cllr David Smith, a member of the panel, has emailed the borough’s MPs, asking them to press Whitehall for a change in the law.

“The majority of the committee didn’t support him but it was acceptable in legal terms. We live in a democratic society and the majority should rule,” he said.

He said he now had doubts whether serving on the Police and Crime Panel was worthwhile and added: “We’re fairly toothless as far as I can see.

“If we can’t influence something like this, it makes you wonder whether it’s worth doing.”

East Dorset Cllr Malcolm Birr, who also voted against, said: “It is a strange one, especially when you’re used to democratic voting on a council committee where if you get a majority that’s it.

“I was disappointed. This is not good news for council taxpayers. We did our job but at the end of the day you have to go along with what the legislation says.” But Christchurch Cllr Bernie Davis, another member who voted against, said he did not share Cllr Smith’s concerns. “They know what the situation is, it’s written into the act and it’s the same across the country,” he said. “It’s no different in Sussex, Surrey or wherever.”

Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, intends to raise the issue with Home Secretary Theresa May today. He said: “It’s against all principles of democratic accountability that precept increases can be introduced when the majority of the panel is against the decision.

“I have asked the PCC to justify pursuing the increase when the majority of the scrutiny panel was clearly against and have written to the Policing Minister asking for the voting procedures to be reviewed.”

Who voted for and against

Martyn Underhill’s recommendation to increase the police’s share of the council tax bill by 1.96 per cent was supported by Dorset County Councillors Fred Drane and Ian Gardner and Poole councillors Judy Butt and Phil Goodall.

Audrey Burch (North Dorset), Ali Patrick (Purbeck) and John Russell (West Dorset) also voted in favour.

Voting against were Bournemouth councillors David Smith, Dennis Gritt, John Adams and Malcolm Davies. Malcolm Birr (East Dorset), Bernie Davis (Christchurch) Geoff Petherick (Weymouth) and Independent co-opted members Iain McVie and Mike Short also voted against.

Comments (10)

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6:51am Mon 10 Feb 14

Phixer says...

Cllr Smith and others joined the panel with full knowledge of the rules but don't like it when they lose. Tuff!!

We, the taxpayers, don't like it when councillors are elected with simple majorities and don't represent the majority of taxpayers - simple being the operative word!.
Cllr Smith and others joined the panel with full knowledge of the rules but don't like it when they lose. Tuff!! We, the taxpayers, don't like it when councillors are elected with simple majorities and don't represent the majority of taxpayers - simple being the operative word!. Phixer
  • Score: 2

8:46am Mon 10 Feb 14

RM says...

Nothing like democracy is there & this is certainly nothing like democracy imo. Talk about playing with a loaded dice! Would the PCC like to comment on the results of the survey/consultation with the public on raising the precept held by his dept shortly before the official vote?
Nothing like democracy is there & this is certainly nothing like democracy imo. Talk about playing with a loaded dice! Would the PCC like to comment on the results of the survey/consultation with the public on raising the precept held by his dept shortly before the official vote? RM
  • Score: 6

8:49am Mon 10 Feb 14

politicaltrainspotter says...

The whole thing is a mess.Firstly, i am not in favour of a rise.We had one last year and saw no improvements but cuts.The Conservatives were the party who wanted Police and Crime Commisioners so they set the rules along with the Home Office.In Bournemouth, they we're so convinced they were going to win the PCC elections, they put up their feet and smoked a cigar.However, they lost and the aftershocks still rumble on.So now they've lost the police precept rise on a ruling they are now asking the Home Secretary to move the goal post.
But Martyn Underhill has now put himself in a position of 'the man who raised the council tax' when the tories froze it.I can see there candidate's manifesto papers now.It's obvious.As for Martyn Underhill, i did vote for him but not again.I want to see the whole PCC scrapped and returned to an executive team of senior officers led by the Chief Constable
The whole thing is a mess.Firstly, i am not in favour of a rise.We had one last year and saw no improvements but cuts.The Conservatives were the party who wanted Police and Crime Commisioners so they set the rules along with the Home Office.In Bournemouth, they we're so convinced they were going to win the PCC elections, they put up their feet and smoked a cigar.However, they lost and the aftershocks still rumble on.So now they've lost the police precept rise on a ruling they are now asking the Home Secretary to move the goal post. But Martyn Underhill has now put himself in a position of 'the man who raised the council tax' when the tories froze it.I can see there candidate's manifesto papers now.It's obvious.As for Martyn Underhill, i did vote for him but not again.I want to see the whole PCC scrapped and returned to an executive team of senior officers led by the Chief Constable politicaltrainspotter
  • Score: 14

8:54am Mon 10 Feb 14

richardcompton3 says...

Underhill probably feels he needs a pay rise.
Underhill probably feels he needs a pay rise. richardcompton3
  • Score: 10

10:47am Mon 10 Feb 14

muscliffman says...

As I recall far less than 20% of the Dorset population voted for the PCC actually proposing this Police precept tax rise, whilst over 55% of our Dorset Police and Crime panel voted against it. So guess what happens?

Democracy only works when we all take common sense notice of it!
As I recall far less than 20% of the Dorset population voted for the PCC actually proposing this Police precept tax rise, whilst over 55% of our Dorset Police and Crime panel voted against it. So guess what happens? Democracy only works when we all take common sense notice of it! muscliffman
  • Score: 7

10:59am Mon 10 Feb 14

speedy231278 says...

I guess this rise is to pay for a person and his staff whom most people didn't even vote in the election, never mind for the winning candidate, who was partially bankrolled by a certain property developer.
I guess this rise is to pay for a person and his staff whom most people didn't even vote in the election, never mind for the winning candidate, who was partially bankrolled by a certain property developer. speedy231278
  • Score: 7

11:18am Mon 10 Feb 14

muscliffman says...

speedy231278 wrote:
I guess this rise is to pay for a person and his staff whom most people didn't even vote in the election, never mind for the winning candidate, who was partially bankrolled by a certain property developer.
' bankrolled by a certain property developer.' - Only the one? - at least two have been mentioned in past reports.
[quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: I guess this rise is to pay for a person and his staff whom most people didn't even vote in the election, never mind for the winning candidate, who was partially bankrolled by a certain property developer.[/p][/quote]' bankrolled by a certain property developer.' - Only the one? - at least two have been mentioned in past reports. muscliffman
  • Score: 8

5:41pm Mon 10 Feb 14

RSI says...

This increase amounts to pence per week which I am prepared to pay.
This issue has been caused by this Government cutting its grant to local councils.
The only way councils can maintain their services is to increase the council tax.
This increase amounts to pence per week which I am prepared to pay. This issue has been caused by this Government cutting its grant to local councils. The only way councils can maintain their services is to increase the council tax. RSI
  • Score: -3

12:02pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Teddy 1 says...

Will he and others in his office give themselves payrises this year I wonder? Wouldnt mind if they didnt have so many useless dinasaur middle managers there. At least the one that I am specifically thinking of has now gone...but on a healthy pay off no doubt!
Will he and others in his office give themselves payrises this year I wonder? Wouldnt mind if they didnt have so many useless dinasaur middle managers there. At least the one that I am specifically thinking of has now gone...but on a healthy pay off no doubt! Teddy 1
  • Score: 1

6:59pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Avengerboy says...

Those voting for an increase, pitiful.
Those voting for an increase, pitiful. Avengerboy
  • Score: 0

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