The Wokingham Paper

Police budget proposal for £10 council tax rise set to be approved today


RESIDENTS will have to pay £10 more council tax to help fund the local police force — if the increase is approved in a vote today. 

This comes as Boris Johnson announced late last year he would put 20,000 additional police officers on the streets of England and Wales.

But to do so, he must dip into the taxpayers’ pocket. 

Since 2010, 20,600 police officers have been cut across the country. 

Between 2010 and 2019, the police force as a whole decreased by 40,000 staff. This includes police community support officers and special constables.

This means that Johnson’s pledge will not replace previous numbers in the force. 

Earlier this year, the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) announced that an additional £10 may be added to residents’ council tax bill in order to recruit 600 new officers to Thames Valley Police.

The Police and Crime Panel will decide on the budget proposal today. If approved, the council tax increase will come into action from Sunday, April 5.

Thames Valley PCC, Anthony Stansfeld, said: “The Government’s funding announcement was based on a rise in the policing part of the local council tax by up to £10 a year for the average Band D household. 

“Although we never like to increase council tax this additional funding will ensure vital support for the extra frontline policing and amounts to less than 20p a week.

“The support from local taxpayers has already allowed me to increase the number of police officers and staff in the last year and this new funding settlement will see an additional 183 officers recruited this year. 

“This is just the first phase of a recruitment which I hope will see police officers numbers rise by around 600 in total.”

Deputy PCC for Thames Valley, Matthew Barber, said: “Last year we put additional resources into improving investigations to bring more criminals to justice and have recruited more call handlers to deal with 101 calls and improve the service for the public.

“These budget proposals will give Thames Valley Police an additional £30.5m this year and will ensure that we invest in initiatives such as drones and the High Tech Crime Unit. Officers will be provided with improved technology and more officers will be equipped with tasers to better protect themselves and the public.”

Ms Stansfeld added: “I will continue to focus on delivering strong neighbourhood policing for all communities across the Thames Valley. The additional funding announced will allow us to invest, not just in our workforce, but in the equipment and technology that the police need to fight modern crimes and protect our communities.

“The Chief Constable and I will discuss the operational priorities for the additional funding to ensure the money supports front-line policing and the Force’s constant efforts to reduce crime and protect victims.”

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