Somerset Police Funding Agreed

It is not often that Police force funding makes the headlines in this part of the world. Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens proposed a budget for 2021/22 earlier this month. The budget proposed was for a precept of £15, in line with most other Police Forces in England and Wales. In what quickly became an acrimonious dispute, that proposal was vetoed by the Police & Crime Panel. Avon & Somerset was the only force in the country to have its proposals vetoed.

Meeting again today, (19 February) Sue Mounstevens came back with a reduced proposal. This asked the panel to approve a precept of £13.39. The extra money to fund the Police will be taken from reserves. But as the PCC pointed out, this is not a sustainable solution for the long term. As she also pointed out, it won’t be her problem as she will not be standing for re-election in May.

Some of the ill will from the previous meeting came through from the very beginning. Sedgemoor representative Janet Keen started. She appeared to be more interested in taking offence at the language used than the actual content of the proposal.

The very public veto and some of the reporting of it drew a long shadow over the meeting. Some councillors tried to suggest no offence was meant and officers should be assured of their support. The PCC was scathing. She told the meeting “Your veto did effect the morale of the Police. It was the only veto in the country. It did effect morale and our officers were disappointed.”

There were lots of questions but the meeting was a muted affair. In the end the proposal was put to support the PCC’s precept. Everyone except Somerset County Council representative Josh Williams, voted in favour. Mr Williams who did not speak at the meeting, abstained.

One comment

  • I very much doubt officers morale was effected by the veto, most probably didn’t even notice. Instead of whining on about reserves maybe she should handover a couple of million from her multimillion £ budget or not have a uniformed Seargent Staff officer or her own CEO on over £100k. Her greatest achievements in her 8 or 9 years has been to sack 2 chief constables and appoint her former CEO as her deputy. He resigned as CEO to stand in last years PCC election. Covid stopped the election so she gave him the deputy job. I’m glad she’s not standing again but also think the role itself should go.

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