North Somerset foots ‘unfair’ police bill

TAXPAYERS in North Somerset are being forced to pay ‘unfair’ amounts to support a police force under-subsidised by the Government, it has been claimed.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary misses out on �20million a year, according to a new report which rates the area as the second most hard-done-by force in Britain.

The House of Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee shows ‘unfair’ cash distribution – and police bosses in the South West say its taxpayers who are left to foot the bill.

Avon and Somerset Police Authority, which sets the constabulary budgets, says a fairer distribution of Government cash would allow police to lower council tax demands – effectively saving every North Somerset household �36 a year.

Authority chair Dr Peter Heffer said: “I have said before that we receive a raw deal and I am pleased to see it finally acknowledged, but what I don’t want to see is this issue remaining in the Home Office’s ‘too difficult’ box.

“I have asked them repeatedly to act and it’s about time they did.

“Our shortfall against our needs assessment has risen from �12million to �20million in 2011/12 and this cannot go on.

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“The people of Avon and Somerset should not have to suffer while other forces are building up reserves.

“If we received the funding that we are assessed to need we would be able to employ over 450 police officers or nearly 700 PCSOs or give every household a council tax reduction of �36 a year.”

Dr Heffer believes taxpayers can help save themselves in back this money, and is urging people to play a part in forcing the Government to act.

He added: “I urge residents to write to their MPs and to highlight this issue because council taxpayers in this area are contributing more to police coffers than elsewhere, only to see the money being diverted to other parts of the country. “It’s simply unfair and our residents should not have to foot this bill.”