More officers and investment in policing following precept rise

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens wants to recruit 100 new officers.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens wants to recruit 100 new officers. - Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

New police officers and more investment in proactive operations to tackle burglary, drugs and violent crime are now possible, after an increase to the police precept was approved.

Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Panel approved Sue Mountstevens’ plans to raise £15million by increasing the policing part of the council tax from £12 to £24 a year for a band D household.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “I fully understand that this is a big increase for households. It was not an easy decision.

“However, I have to balance the challenges facing policing; the increased threat from criminality and the safety of residents.

“In order to improve visibility and results, we need to have the resources.

“With the government set on raising money for policing from local people I have the unenviable job of deciding how we meet these challenges. I am grateful to have the support of the Police and Crime Panel in this decision.

“I want local people to see and feel a difference in the constabulary’s fight against crime.

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“Just like last year, we will continue to protect neighbourhood policing the very ‘eyes and ears’ of our communities and invest in additional officers for the first time in over a decade.

“I’m committed with the chief constable to intensify our fight against serious violence on our streets, in our towns and cities with high profile disruption activity for burglary, drugs and serious violence.

“Sending a loud and clear message to criminals that coming into our area to commit their crimes and exploit our children is not an option.

“This money will not fix everything but it’s the first investment we’ve seen since austerity begun in 2010 and it’s a big step in the right direction.”

In December, the government said police and crime commissioners could increase the police part of the council tax from from £12 to £24 a year for the average - band D - household.

More: Council tax bills to rise to help fund Avon and Somerset police?From April, the total increase in policing funding, after the council tax precept rice and new Home Office money, will boost the PCC’s net expenditure budget by £21million.

Of the £21million, £17million is required to meet rising costs, while the remaining £4million will be invested in the policing service to tackle burglary, drug crime and violent crime and the recruitment of 100 additional officers.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary receives one of the lowest funding settlements in the country, compared to its relative need.

More: Avon and Somerset commissioner pleads for fairer funding for police forces.

Police chiefs have been campaigning for fairer funding through the police funding formula for a number of years.

The constabulary receives 26 per cent less than it received in 2010/2011 – taking into account the rate of inflation – which has led to £78million worth of savings since 2010.