Police boss challenged on budget
THE Avon and Somerset Police Panel has called on the new police commissioner to change her mind over her budget plans.
Former businesswoman Sue Mountstevens has opted to freeze the police portion of the council tax.
Members of the Avon and Somerset Police Panel expressed their disappointment at the move yesterday – but did not have enough votes to overturn the budget.
Chairman of the panel Nigel Ashton, who is also leader of North Somerset Council, said: "We know this is a time of austerity but we are asking her to look again at raising the Police Precept since we know local people want to see a strong police force and this would be a very small amount of approximately 3p per week."
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Ms Mountstevens is proposing a budget of £279 million, £3 million less than the previous financial year.
Ms Mountstevens said: "I was very clear when I campaigned that I wasn't going to raise the precept but I will look at the figures again and come back to them. I will freeze the policing part of the council tax this year but I plan to have a full consultation with residents next year."