The shocking terrorist attacks that have occurred in Paris recently have been disturbing in the extreme.
You may have also noted, like me, that three police officers were killed during the course of these incidents.
No doubt the terrorists would have killed more given the opportunity.
Then last week police in various European countries took action against suspected extremists living inside their borders. Again some news reports suggest at least one of these suspected terror plots was to attack police.
It seems that murdering police officers – whose job it is to protect the community – is fair game for these extremists, who may or may not be linked.
While this is a poignant reminder of the risks involved in being a police officer, it is also a reminder of the value of protecting front line policing so that it has the capacity to respond to new threats.
Thankfully facing a direct terrorist threat is not a regular event for police officers in Hertfordshire and I hope it stays that way.
I am glad to say that our county’s diverse community lives in relative harmony – although we must continue to be vigilant against all forms of extremism.
However, there is still a wide range of challenging and dangerous situations police officers are called on to deal with.
Protecting front line policing in Hertfordshire, particularly local policing, in this challenging economic climate has been a priority of mine since I was elected.
In order to do this it is essential that the Constabulary’s finances are kept order; after all we cannot use resources we do not have.
One of my responsibilities as Police and Crime Commissioner is to set the police budget in Hertfordshire and the part of the council tax bill that goes towards the cost of policing here.
I am glad to say that being prudent and responsible with Constabulary finances over recent years, along with collaboration work with neighbouring forces in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, means we have made significant savings.
These savings mean not only can we protect local and front line policing in the county but we can invest in it too.
The healthy state of the Force’s reserves means we can buffer against the impact of future reductions in government funding and even fund increased police officer recruitment.
Here in Hertfordshire we are in a better position to protect front line, local policing than in many other areas of the UK.
Furthermore our savings and efficiencies mean we can invest without increased cost to the taxpayer.
While many other Police and Crime Commissioners around the country looking to raise their council tax precepts in order to maintain current levels of policing, here in Hertfordshire I am planning to freeze it yet again.
So if you live in an average Band D property, the cost of policing to you through your council tax bill will be £147.82 for the whole year – the same amount you have paid since 2010.
My hope is that by sensible management of the budget we can protect the police’s front line, so that Hertfordshire remains a safe place to live and work. All this without costing you a penny more.