£9.6m boost for Northamptonshire Police but council tax-payers will have to wait to find out if they have to pay more

Northamptonshire Police could have 1,500 officers on the force by 2023 following a £9.6million Government funding boost.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 4:00 pm

The county's Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold admitted this year's increase is "better than we had hoped for".

But there will be some serious number crunching at police HQ before council tax-payers find out if they will be asked to pay another £10 extra to help get more bobbies joining the county's force.

Northamptonshire could have a budget of £145.9m in 2020-21 compared to £136.3m in the current year following Home Secretary Priti Patel's announcement of the "biggest funding boost in a decade" in the House of Commons.

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Northamptonshire Police Commissioner Stephen Mold admits the budget boost is better than he hoped for.

That figure assumes on Mr Mold takes up his option to increase council tax bills by £10 for a typical band D property. That will be decided at a meeting of the Police, Fire and Crime Panel on February 4.

Mr Mold said: “We are currently going through the detail of this settlement and looking at what this means for the council tax I ask people to pay.

"I’m weighing up my wish not to place a bigger financial burden on the hard-working council taxpayers of Northamptonshire against the need to ensure Northamptonshire Police has the resources to keep people safe."

In October, Northamptonshire Police confirmed they would be able to add an extra 57 officers immediately thanks to new Prime Minister Boris Johnson's pledge to boost numbers.

Chief Constable Nick Adderley admits the budget boost is long overdue.

Recruitment of 200 officers following 2019's £24-a-year rise in the police's share of council tax bills is already underway. But the latest funding increase means the target of having 1,310 officers in Northamptonshire by 2021 will now be achieved in the next few months.

Mr Mold added: “People have told me very clearly that they want to see more police in Northamptonshire and we are working to deliver that.

“We had already announced in 2019-20 that we were using locally-raised funding to recruit 200 extra officers, 83 of which were brand new posts that would increase the number of officers in Northamptonshire to 1,310.

"We had planned to do this by 2021 but we are on target to reach that number by May this year, which will take the force back to the size it was in 2010. Funding for the 57 officers boosts the force still further and means an increase to 1,367 officers by March 2021.

“Whilst funding for future years is not confirmed, we expect Northamptonshire’s share of the total uplift previously announced by the Government could see funding for approximately 190 extra officers which would take the force to over 1,500 officers by 2023.

“But Northamptonshire is one of the fastest-growing counties in the country. Our projections show that by 2023, the county population will have grown by 65,000, so demand for policing continues to outstrip the growth in officer numbers."

Northamptonshire's Chief Constable Nick Adderley welcomed the funding increase.

He said: “This is long overdue but will allow me and my staff to build greater capabilities and resilience in those areas which have suffered over the past ten years.

“It will allow us to rebuild neighbourhood policing and focus on those issues which affect the quality of life of those we serve, as well as providing us with additional staff and equipment.

“Fighting crime and protecting people has been my focus since I was appointed and we have made significant inroads in achieving this. The additional funding will allow me to accelerate our progress in this regard.”