Hertfordshire PCC proposes £10-a-year council tax increase to boost number of police officers
Commissioner proposes increase for larger, smarter and more responsive police service
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire is launching a public consultation on proposals to raise the council tax precept by £10-a-year to make the police force larger, smarter and more responsive.
The PCC says the additional money will see the number of officers rise by another 90 plus another 20 Police Community Support Officers to ensure a strong neighbourhood policing service is maintained - in response to the public’s wish to see more police officers on the street.
Reducing violence against women and children is also key priority in David Lloyd’s planned budget for the next financial year.
The increase will meet inflationary pressures and cover a 3.5 per cent pay increase for officers and staff, following a pay freeze in this current year.
However, the commissioner wants to ensure that the police will work smarter and make full use of technology to provide a service that is quicker, easier and more accessible to the public.
New systems will allow the public to send live video streams to officers and the force control room when they call 999 or 101, and send digital evidence online.
They will also be able to check an officer’s identity by requesting a unique pin code to get further reassurance.
Money will also be invested in the transformational Prevention First and evidence-based policing models so that resources are targeted in problem areas before common everyday crimes are committed or escalate to more serious offences.
One of the roles of a PCC is to consult with the public before setting the precept, which is the part of the council tax that pays for police services.
For the 2022/23 budget, residents are being asked to share their views on increasing the annual precept, for an average Band D property, from £213 to £223. This equates to a 20p a week increase, with those in other bandings paying more or less.
Running Hertfordshire Police is expected to cost £260m in 2022/23.
This is funded by a combination of £141m from central government, £102m from the council tax and an additional £17m in fees, charges and other grants.
The proposed average £10-a-year increase would raise an additional £4.59m in income and represent a 4.69 per cent increase in the police budget.
Mr Lloyd said: “2021 saw us reach a record high number of officers in Hertfordshire and more are on the way.
"These along with the extra PCSOs will enable a continued focus on the neighbourhood work which people tell me concerns them, such as anti-social behaviour, speeding, burglary, business crime and violence.
“We also need to ensure these officers are accessible to the public and able to respond to what people need from their police service.
"We will be putting extra money in new technology so people can have closer connections with officers.
“But it is not just all about getting more officers, as the ultimate aim is reducing crime and the harm it causes.
"This can also be achieved by working smarter to stop it occurring in the first place and spotting the early warning signs.
“This additional money will enable the programmes of Prevention First and evidence-based policing that the Constabulary are following to progress and benefit all of our communities.
“Understandably given some national incidents this year there is a lot of concern about violence towards women, and children.
"This budget will ensure that additional effort and resources are focused on this area.
"But to reassure you, Hertfordshire already has the lowest number of rapes and serious sexual violence compared to its most similar forces."
Mr Lloyd added: “Before I take any decisions on the budget, I want to understand from the people of Hertfordshire about what they feel the local priorities should be.”
Now Mr Lloyd wants to hear the public's views on his proposal. A survey opens today (Tuesday, December 21) and will run until January 14 2022, it can be accessed online here.
If you would like to comment in writing, please send them to [email protected] or you can send a letter to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, 13 Vaughan Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 4GZ.