The Police and Crime Commissioner, Anthony Stansfeld, has today (22/1) approved the capital and revenue plans presented to him by Chief Constable Francis Habgood.
Anthony Stansfeld Police and Crime Commissioner said
“In December I welcomed the Government’s funding settlement which increased funding for policing and recognised the demand placed on policing nationally.
“Over £100 million has been cut from Thames Valley Police’s annual budget over the last 8 years. While the Force continues to prioritise its work and make efficiency savings, there was significant concern that budget pressures would lead to unacceptable reductions in resources which would impact frontline policing and result in a service less able to respond to increases in demand.
“The 2019/20 funding settlement has allowed us to avoid a reduction in resource and I am pleased to be able to agree a budget today which enables Thames Valley Police to invest in operational policing to help protect our communities.
“It is important to recognise, however that more than half of the funding in the Governments 2019/20 settlement (£509m) available nationally to Police and Crime Commissioners is expected to come from local taxpayers by increasing the police portion of the Council Tax.
“Before I made a decision on the level of Council Tax, I sought views of the residents of the Thames Valley. Of the 8,031 people who completed the survey, 69.7% agreed to an increase to fund policing. I am therefore proposing an increase in the police portion of the Council Tax in 2019/20 of £24 for the equivalent of a Band D property.
“After funding pay and price rise, the increase in Council Tax enables me to invest around £8.5m in a number of priority policing areas. These include the recruitment of additional officers to respond to increasing crime demand and complexity, improved service to the public in investment in 101 call handling, the recruitment of investigators to tackle complex crime and, investment in technology to improve productivity and efficiency.
“I am confident that the budget proposed protects our communities today and plans for the future. Over the next four years, Thames Valley Police will need to continue to make efficiency savings of over £15m with demand on services expected to continue to increase through increased reporting of complex crime and the growing challenge from serious organised crime networks”.
“The budget will now go to the Police and Crime Panel on the 1 February for final ratification.”
Francis Habgood Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police said:
“Firstly I would like to thank the public for showing their support for policing.
“Without this additional investment we would have faced further cuts and it would have seriously damaged our ability to provide the policing services that we want to and our communities expect.
“The increase agreed today will enable us to recruit additional officers and staff to respond to increased demand, recruit more investigators to tackle the increase in complex crimes, deliver an improved 101 service and to invest in technology to improve productivity and efficiency.”
After funding pay and price rises, the increase in Council Tax enables an investment of around £8.5m in a number of priority policing areas. We will:
- Improve services to the public through contact management by reducing 101 call handling times
- Increase frontline policing by recruiting additional officers and staff to respond to increasing crime demand and complexity
- Improve our investigative capacity and process for complex crimes
- Increase our digital capability by exploiting the modern platforms we have been investing in