Residents in Hertfordshire are to pay an average of £10-a-year extra to support plans for the county’s largest ever police force.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd’s proposal to increase the Council Tax police precept as part of the boost were unanimously agreed last week.
Mr Lloyd’s decision follows a public consultation in which 65 percent of residents said they wanted to pay more to support extra policing in the county.
Hertfordshire is on course to have 2,100 officers by the end of the forthcoming financial year, the highest level in a decade.
Numbers are then set to increase to 2,314 officers, the highest number ever, by the end of March 2023.
Mr Lloyd said: “This is a transformational budget for policing – in simple terms there will be more officers on the streets of Hertfordshire.
“I represent the people of Hertfordshire, and when the people were asked if they supported an increase in the precept for this aim, they overwhelmingly gave their support.”
“It is a collective investment from local tax payers and central government towards giving Hertfordshire the largest constabulary we have ever had.
“Unlike other parts of the country the boost in officers is not just replacing officers who were lost in recent cuts, as in Hertfordshire, even during the austerity times, police officers were maintained at broadly the same level.
“Now we are going to have a substantially larger force and it is vital that it is properly resourced. It is appropriate that local tax payers make a contribution to this investment.
“The increase of the precept by £10-a-year for the average Council Tax payer, will support the hundreds of extra officers for years to come; at £198 per annum this still represents excellent value.
“They need to be provided with the very best equipment, training and facilities and to enable them to protect the public and keep crime low.”
An extra £16m will be invested in Hertfordshire Police this year, with the precept increase generating £5.8m, and uplifted core government grants providing an extra £10.7m.
The proposed £217m net budget was agreed at the Police and Crime Panel last Thursday evening at Broxbourne Borough Council office.
The precept pays for 42 per cent of Hertfordshire Constabulary’s 20/21 budget, generating £90.5.m The other 58 per cent, £126.8m, comes from central government grants.
Band D property owners will now pay £198 a year, which equates to 83p per month more than the last year.
Despite this increase Hertfordshire remains the fourth lowest precepting authority for policing in England and Wales, being 15.4 percent (£31) below the national average.
Also outlined in the budget is a new scheme to tackle the causes of crime and reduce people’s chances of becoming victims.
The £1m Crime Prevention and Innovation Fund will look at a broad scope of ways to prevent crime and intervene early.
“While arresting criminals is important, preventing crime in the first place is better still, and produces a society with less crime and fewer victims,” added Mr Lloyd.
“The government has brought in a new complaints regime to provide a better service to the public. It creates an additional role for PCCs and imposes new duties on them. Our Intention is to build on the excellent foundation our current Complaints Resolution Team have set to develop the new service.”
“This funding will also be used to build on the success of the Beacon Fraud hub to look at how its ‘gold standard’ pilot can be expanded to help victims of this crime type. It’s the first of its kind in providing support and advice to victims of fraud, and in the first six months of operation has already supported well over 3,000 victims.”
Earlier this year a survey conducted by the Commissioner’s office had over 1,000 replies with 65 per cent saying they were willing to pay more for policing.