Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach’s plans to increase police visibility have today (FRI 3 February 2017) been supported by the Police and Crime Panel.
Following a presentation by the Commissioner and his team, the Panel considered and unanimously approved the PCC’s funding proposals for meeting the operational demands of policing in 2017-18.
Willy Bach recommended a small (1.99%) increase in the amount of council tax local people pay towards policing to sustain a level budget in the face of ongoing challenge to the Force’s funding.
The Panel’s support means that the PCC can now give the go ahead for a recruitment campaign to fund an additional eight police officers for the Force – one for each neighbourhood policing area. This is in addition to the 10 Police Officer posts which were incorporated into the establishment after the budget was set for 2016/17.
The precept increase will see people paying an extra £3.65 per year for a Band D (the average) property from April, bringing the total council tax bill for police purposes to £187.23.
Speaking after today’s meeting, Willy said: “My financial plans for 2017-18 have been shaped by the needs and expectations of local people. I have listened carefully to what they have said and I’ve done something about it.
“Any increase in council tax, however small, is not a decision to be taken lightly. The Treasury, however, made it clear that there was little choice but to implement such a rise to maintain the status quo and lessen the impact of what is essentially a further erosion of our central funding.
“The good news is we’re now able to build up our active community police presence and keep more police officers where the public want them to be – in their communities. This is what everyone tells me they want to see and this budget will make it happen.
“I was pleased therefore that the Panel accepted the ongoing pressures in terms of increasing demand and emerging crime threats and recognised the inevitability of a small council tax rise to help meet these.”
The Commissioner’s investment plans will bring police officer levels to 1,782 taking into account the additional 10 officers incorporated in the budget during the year. This compares to 1,764 in April 2016.
In addition, the Commissioner will review the potential for relocating some uniformed officers based at HQ to Neighbourhood Policing Teams in a bid to increase visibility and accessibility.
The meeting heard the Force is facing a financial shortfall of more than £10.3m in central funding over the next five years.
“Each year it becomes more and more difficult to maintain the status quo. However, we’re already working on ways to limit the impact of these cuts,” said Willy.
“A Change Progamme, currently being developed by the Chief and his team, will further help to protect and prioritise the visible and accessible policing service delivered across our communities.”
Media enquiries: Sallie Blair 01283 821012
Facts and Figures
The budget for policing Leicestershire in 2017/18 has been set at £171.639m. This equates to an increase of £0.799m (0.47%) from the 2016/17 net budget requirement level of £170.840m.
Approximately two thirds of this is funded by the Government and with the remainder coming from the police precept in the local Council Tax.
The PCC’s public survey revealed 83.3% of local people are in support of a 1.99% increase in council tax to safeguard policing services. This compares favourably to the 70.7% level for 2016/17 and 56.1% for 2015/16.
The PCC proposes to invest £2m in 2017/18 and a further £2m in 2018/19 in the continued roll out of agile IT equipment which will enable uniformed staff to spend longer in the communities they serve - thus increasing visibility.
He also pledges to invest £500,000 into work with local partners to progress ideas for a multiagency call handling and resolution facility. Based around the 101 service, the new system would enable the public to seek help and support across a wide range of public service functions.
Posted on Friday 3rd February 2017