The Sustainable Communities Act might prove rather more exciting than it sounds. First introduced as a Private Members Bill by the Tory MP Nick Hurd, among other things it offers Councils the power to take back the precept they pay to the police and use it to operate the policing themselves. It contains the sort of localist measures we can expect more of if the Conservatives form the next Government.
In Windsor a petition has been launched to urge the local Council to take this course of action the Act empowers them to. The petition says:
“We, the undersigned, have lost confidence in Thames Valley Police Constabulary. We believe that they have given up offering genuine protection to our residents and businesses, opting instead to use our police precept (tax) to fund security in Slough, Oxford and Reading. We believe we have a right to policing and are now unwilling to continue to live in an environment of harassment and crime.”
Thame Valley Police has announced a 4.5% increase in its Council Tax precept. But petition organiser George Bathurst says: “We have problems of our own and we need a local police force to serve the local people. There is not enough police around the borough and Windsor police station is always closed, residents and businesses do not have anyone to turn too. People are struggling to pay their council tax as it is and they now they are being asked to pay more, which is likely to be going to adjacent boroughs.”